Skip to main content

Full text of "The beauties of England and Wales; introduction to the original delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, intituled the Beauties of England and Wales. Comprising observations on the history and antiquities ... together with remarks on the progress of ... architecture in succeeding ages"

See other formats

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below 

WAR 5 It--^' 
■ \ Z d pU 

JUL 2 3 1931 

JAN 5)932 

■'"' ^0 1932 

- JAH30 IS 
FEB 5 -1948 

. DA 

Introd. Beaut iec 
of ^n;^land arid 

'TPV f 

gy //..Vci 


(A ' v' <J-/A 

JUL 2 3 1931 

Southern Branch 
of the 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Form L I 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 






England and Wales, 






Remarks on the Progress of Ecclesiastical, Military, and 
Domestic Architecture in Succeeding Ages. 


" To be the Heralds of our Country's fame, 
Ovr first ambition, and our dearest aim." 








J~nT-r OcL^ 


^econa MnU of ilortJ)ttmberiattl>» 

S)'c. Sic. 4fc. 






THIS Volume was patronised hy His 
Grace; and, hy permission long since awarded, 
was to have been honoured with the sanction of 
his Ili^ustrious Name as its Patron. — The 
whole of its contents display the transitory na- 
ture of earthly ylory. Alas ! the page of In- 
scription is woefully emphatic. Between the 
intention and the act, the noblest work of God-^ 
a Good Man — passed from the earth ! 

Praise cannot now be deemed adula- 
Hon ! The writer, therefore, indulges in freedom 
of expression ; and Inscribes this Work to 
THE Memory of a Nobleman who sustained 
the true dignity of his Rank by the Courtesy of 



the complete Gentleman ; whose Virtues were 
superior to tJie trials of every age ; who presented 
in Youth a model for the affluent and ennobled, 
hy the disdain of enervating pleasures, and the 
dedication of his talents to the most arduous field 
in which his Country required exertion ; whose 
Prime of Manhood was equally useful in the 
Senate, and admirable in the exemplary practice 
of social duties ; and who, in the retirement of 
Advanced and Declining Life, inspirited 
patriotic effort by Precept, as before by Ex- 
ample, solacing the pains of decrepit seclusion 
by the exercise of benevolence, and the encourage- 
ment of the Literature and the Arts of thai 
Country which his whole personal Career was 
ealculated. to adorn. 

To the Memory of such a Nobleman, 
Hugh, Duke of Northumberland, this 
Work, a humble Tribute to his lamented Funeral- 
Monuinent, is inscribed by 




33eatttie3 of Cnslanli anH tsmales. 

*-• IN concluding this extensive work, the Pub- 
lisher and Proprietors repeat the sentiments ex- 
I pressed on the completion of the first volume. — 
:i They await the decision of the Public, with con- 
V fidence, intermingled with fear. The former is 
the offspring of the unqeasing solicitude bestowed 
on every part of the undertaking ; the latter of 
the occasional inaccuracies, and deterioration ot 
g embellishment, which, even with the most sedu- 
^ lous attention, seem hardly possible to be avoided 

in a performance of this description. 
M The time for professions is now passed. The 
*H work, in a complete state, is in the hands of the 
Subscribers; and must, from its own character, 
evince the sincerity of every avowal formerly 
made. But, in advertins: to this circumstance, 
and whilst consigning the volumes to a reliance 
on their intrinsic merits, the Proprietor would 
beg leave respectfully to observe that their duty 



consisted in selecting, and duly seconding- the 
exertions of, literary men and artists. After the 
performance of such an obligation to the Sub- 
scribers and to themselves, on the part of the 
Proprietors, the opinions ;of the reader and con- 
noisseur in the arts must apply to the respective 
writers, draughtsmen, and engravers. And it is 
hoped, that the efforts of all concerned have been 
equally zealous and able ; and have gratified the 
expectations of those who have supported the 

Whilst speaking of this work, viewed as a 
whole, the Publisher reverts to those observations 
which he submitted on the completion of the 
Beauties of England and Wales as far as re- 
garded the county surveys, and independent of 
the present volume, comprising an Essay intro- 
ductory to the prosecution of Topographical re- 
searches, and to the study of our National An- 

** It will be readily admitted by the candid of 
every class, and especially by those conversant in 
topographical investigation, that some errors and 
oversights are unavoidable in every department 
of a work so multifarious in its notices, and pub- 
lished with periodical expedition. These casual 
faults will plead, it is hoped, their own excuse 
with the liberal ; and it is confidently presumed 
that no topographical work, equally comprehen- 


sive, has appeared with less numerous inaccura- 
cies in a first edition. 

" If the same scale of comparison may be al- 
lowed, the Publisher would heg permission to 
suggest, in regard to such Subscribers as have 
complained of the length of time employed in the 
progress of the Beauties op Engi^and, that it 
is believed a work so comprehensive, founded on 
actual and minute survey, was never written, 
printed, and produced to the Public, in a shorter 
period, ajtho'ugh this has been retarded, in manji 
of its parts, by circumstances peculiarly unpro- 
pitious." ^ 

The Subscribers and the Public are entitled to 
a full explanation of the rise and progress of a 
work which has received extensive patronage, 
and has, assuredly, conduced in a memorable de- 
gree towards rendering an object of fashionable 
pursuit that species of research, which, until late 
years, was considered destitute of interest to all 
but the dull explorer of pedigrees, and the melan- 
choly and tasteless examiner of ruinous masses of 
stone, who venerated such fragments only because 
they were old. — Without undue assumption, it may 
be asserted, that the Beauties op England and 
Wales have performed the laudable task of ame- 
liorating much that was repugnant in the crust 
of antiquity ; have shewn that even the discussion 
of pedigrees may become a delightful source of 



information to the general reader, by extracting, 
and holding forth to notice, names little known, 
but connected with interesting passages in the 
story of past days ; and have proved that ponde- 
rous masses of monastic or castellated stone, nearly 
shapeless through age, and overgrown with ivy, 
are often fraught with tales of touching emphasis. 
They have endeavoured to render it familiar 
with the polite, as well as the erudite, that no ex- 
panse of British ground is so steril as to want a 
claim on the feelings and taste of the investigator, 
who combines the shades of past scenery with 
present appearances. It has, indeed, been their 
aim to prove that the walk of Topographical Li- 
terature is not calculated for confinement to the 
dry indiscriminate antiquary and the genealogist ; 
but that the description of a particular place may 
be rendered the inspiriting centre of intelligence 
at once various, amusing, and instructive; unit- 
ing the beauties of natural history, and the pro- 
gress of science and the arts, with a display of 
the last noble result of cultivated nature — moral 
and intellectual excellence. 

The rise of this Work ; its procedure through 
the first nine volumes ; and its known influence 
on the topographical literature of the age; are 
thus explained in a letter from Mr. Britton to the 
Editor of this Introductory volume. 



Letter from J. Britton, Esq. F.S.A. to Mr. J. Norris Brewer* 

Dear Sir, 

In compliance with your wishes, I will 
endeavour to furnish some account of the origin and early progress 
of tbe Beauties of .England and Wales ; — point out the 
manner in which that work was originally conducted, and furnish 
you with the names of most of those gentlemen who afforded 
myself and Mr. Brayley literary information towards the comple- 
tion of the first nine Volumes, Volume Eleven, and a portion of the 
Fifteenth. A statement of this kind appears to be not only due to 
the patrons of the Work, but an essentially component pa' t of it. 
1 am the more desirous of being particular on these subjects, 
and of recording certain facts in the Volume you are now print- 
incr, as I am well aware, that bqlh myself and my early co- 
adjutor have been iinplicated in the errors of other persons, with 
whom we were never directly or indirectly connected. Believe 
me, my dear Sir, though I am eager to justify myself for what 
is done, — guard against erroneous conclusions, — and furnish the 
future Topographer and Biographer with accurate data respecting 
a large and popular publication, I do not wish to traduce any of 
its editors, authors, or publishers ; or make a statement that is 
not strictly applicable to the contents, and execution of the 
Work. From the experience you have had in collecting and 
•writing the accounts of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Middle- 
sex, you must be well aware of the extiemc difHcully of obtain- 
ing correct information on many subjects lylnch you may be de- 
sirous of explaining ; — of the incompeteircy of some to afford com- 
munication ;— of the indolence and apathy jt others ; — of the re- 
served pride of certain persons, and contemptuous conduct of others. 
These are only some of the impleasantries we have had to encoun- 
ter : — hence the experienced topographer and acute critic uhould 
exercise much lenity in estimating the contents of a work like the 
present, which embraces such a vast \a! iety of subjects, — of places, 
persons, and things; — many of which, from tbe limits which we ori- 
ginally prescribed to ourselves, could only be briefly noticed, not 



illustrated in detail. At the commencement of tbis publication, 
we were certainly much too concise, — indeed on many subject* 
wholly silent. As the work advanced we acquired not only more 
knowledge of general chorography and antiquities, but also learnt 
what was required by the topographical reader; and what was 
essential towards the completion of the publication. Anxious to 
satisfy the one, and effect the other, we extended our views, — 
eagerly sought for original information, — visited nearly every 
town and principal place in each county, — obtained original 
communications from many distinguished persons, as will be 
shewn in a subsequent list, — analized and compared even/ 
topographical work that had been published, — and indeed 
zealously endeavoured to render the work, not only satisfac- 
tory and creditable to ourselves, but to the critical reader, and 
to the country. As conducive to this end, we sought a new 
style of embellishment; in which accuracy of representation 
should be combined with picturesque effect: in which the young 
draftsman and engraver, should have an opportunity of display- 
ing their respective talents, and vie with each other in the career 
of fame. — A new era in topographical literature, as you will readily 
admit, has been created since the commencement of this century — 
for, before the Beauties of Enolan d appeared, the generality of 
county histories, and antiquarian works were rather distignred than 
adorned by their embellishments. A few of the old draftsmen and 
engravers are, however, entitled to respect and praise. Hollar, 
Loggan, and Burghers, have bequeathed us many interesting 
views of buildings, monuments, stained glass, &c. : but many of 
the works, even of these artists, are very inaccurate; and from the 
obvious reason, that the engravers were not sufficiently remunerated 
for their skill and time. The old bird's-eye views, by Kip, Knyff, 
&c. and the Views, by S. and N. Buck, are highly useful and 
interesting ; but this clasb of embellishment is at present " out of 
fashion." The " cuts," as they are sometimes called, contained in 
Grose's " Antiquities," and those copied from them, are only to- 
lerable in the very infancy of literature and art, and may be re- 
garded as approaching to caricatures in topography. Gilpin's 



views in his various " Tours," have a certain degree of prettiness aud 
picturesque effect: but they have no one quality of accuracy, nor 
do they deserve to be classed with topographical embellishments. 
They may amuse the young masters and misses of drawing schools, 
but unfortunately they lead to slightness and a neglect of fidelity. 
In Pennant's works, and Cordiner's ' Antiquities of Scotland,* 
there are some respectable prints. Dr. Stukeley, in bis volumes 
on * Stonehenge' and 'Ahury' and in Mis' Itinerarium Curiosum/ 
'was the first topographical antiquary that furnished flans and 
sections of buildings, &c ; and these are now become eminently 
interesting and valuable. But for his prints of Avtbury, or 
Abury, as he calls it, we should not have known the magnitude 
and arrangement of that vast druidical or aboriginal monument. 
By these and his descriptions, we are enabled to ascertain the 
immense extent, and unique arrangement, of that mighty work; 
which the Goths, of modern times, have almost destroyed.* To 
my respected, but visionary countryman, John Aubrey, we are 
also indebted for much curious information on the state of many anti- 
quities, before Stukeley 's time. The topographical works of Dug- 
dale, Plot, Carew, Lambard, Burton, and Thoroton, are truly valu- 
able and curious. The first engravings, however, of interest, in our 
times, w re Hearne and Byrne's ' Antiquities of Great Britain ;' and 
these have since been succeeded by a list of works too numerous 
to be particularised here ; but the greater part of which have ori- 
ginated from the Beauties of England : some in opposition to 
it ; some from emulation ; and others from a spirit of enquiry, and 
love of the subject, which grew up with the progress of that 
work. Among other topographical publications, which have thus 
courted public patronage, and some of which have conferred ho- 

• A view of this village is given in the account of Wiiishire, Vol. XV. 
merely to shew a lew of the upright stones : but to attain an accurate know- 
ledge of the whole temple, in. its pristiiif and perfect state, it is necessary to 
display it by ground-plans, and difi'erent geometrical views. 'J'his I propose 
to do in my third Volume of the " Beauties of Wiltshire," which is ready for 
the press, and will .tpcedily be produced. 


Tiour ou their respective authors and districts, I feel much plea- 
sore in noticing the following: — 

" The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester" 
now publishing in folio, by George Ormerod, Esq. M.A. and 
F.S.A. is a very valuable and interesting specimen of topography. 
This gentleman communicated much useful and original informa- 
tion relating to Lancashire, and generously presented a plate of 
the collegiate church at Manchester. In one of his letters to me, 
dated September 3, 1807, he thus judiciously remarks on tht 
character of the present work. " I always considered yonr 
' Beauties' as not intended to enter into deep disquisitions ap- 
plicable only to the antiquary, or addressed merely to the local 
vanity of certain county inhabitants ; but, as a popular work for 
general entertainment and utility, a focus to collect the rays of 
scattered information.** 

" Cantabrigia Depicta," by Messrs. Harraden and Son, one 
Vol. 4to. wilh several plates. " A History and Description of 
Cornwall," now publishing in 4to. by F. HiTCHiNS, Esq. and S. 
DuEWE, of St. Auslle. The latter gentleman visited some places 
in Cornwall, with me, in 1804 : and also communicated several 
long and interesting letters on the manners, customs, habits, &c. 
of the piiners of that county. A *• History and Illustration of 
St. George's Chapel, Windsor,'* by William Herbert, and F. 
Nasls, folio. A " History of Islington" by Mr. Nelson, one 
Vol. 4lo. " The History of the Inns of Court and Chancery,'* 
by W. Herbert, one Vol. 4to. and 8vo. " The History and 
Antiquities of the County of Northampton," by G. Baker. 
This worthy and zealous topographer has announced the above 
■work to be comprised in four Vols, folio : and I am enabled, from 
personal knowledge, to say, that his collections are vast ; and that 
he is assiduous and indefaligable in accumulating and analising 
an extensive mass of materials. He very kindly furnished much 
original information towards the account of Northamptonshire, in 
the eleventh Volume of this work. — An Account and Illus- 
trutions of the Isle of Wight, one Vol. 8vo.— " The Southern 



Coast of England," now publishing in 4to. Numbers.—" The 
Thames, with Graphic Illustrations," two Vols. 4to. and 8vo. 
produced by Messrs. W. and G. Cooke, and so highly cre- 
ditable to their professional talents, would probably never have 
appeared but from the excitement and example of tlie Beauties 
of England, for which work, both those excellent Engravers 
executed some of the early plates.. It is a pleasing circumstance 
to the true lover of topography, to contemplate snch eminent 
literary and graphic publications, and to know that the taste for, 
and the laudable rivalry displayed in them, have originated in a 
work, which was as humble and unassuming in its origin, as the 
authors were in circumstances and pretensions. 

Respecting the embellishments of this work, it is proper to 
remark, that, both myself and Mr. Braylcy, wished to give sub- 
jects of Antiquities more frequently than they were adopted, 
knowing that such prints were more particularly required by 
the purchasers ;— but this was objected to by the Publisher, who 
preferred seats and wood-scenery, considering these the principal 
beauties of the country. From this circumstance, arose the 
" Architectural Antiquities," and Antiquarian Cabinet," the 
first of which lias been completed in four Vols. 4to. with 270 
Plates. The latter work was commenced by Mr. Brayley, and 
is finished in ten Vols. 18mo. with above 400 Plates. 

After the death of the original Publisher, I was requested by 
the respectable Publisher of this Volume, to write the account of 
Wiltshire, my native county, to form part of the Fifteenth Vo- 
lume of the present work; and this portion of the Beauties, I can 
refer to with some degree of confidence and pleasure, as consist- 
ing almost wholly of original information, and being the result 
of personal inquiry and examination. 

" The Beauties of England and Wales,'* in title and plan, 
originated iu " the Beauties of Wiltshire," two volumes,* which 
I published in 1801, in conjunction with Messrs. Vernor and Hood, 


• I must remark, Lowever, that those volumes have little pretensions to 



booksellers, of the Poultry. At that time, I believe, there was not 
an original topographical work published respecting England, 
generally, excepting, indeed, the " Magna Britannia," in six 
volumes, quarto. There was also " A Description of England 
and Wales," in ten volumes, 12rao, 1769, and some folio 
works, called " Boswell's Antiquities," and " BritishTravellers,** 
chiefly copied from " Grose's Antiquities," and published with 
fictitious names, which are only entitled to notice here, to guard 
the young topographer; as I am justified in saying they are hasty 
and illiterate compilations, without any attempt at originality, or 
comparative examination. Like the blinded horse in a mill, each 
compiler followed the other in plodding, thoughtless, unvaried 
succession; and thus error upon error has been repeated, and 
absurdity after absurdity disseminated. " The Antiquities of 
England and Wales," &c. by Grose, 1772, 1776, only embraced 
a few objects in the wide range of English topography. It had, 
however, been popular, and that led the Publishers of tbe "Beau- 
ties" to anticipate equal success in a new publication, which should 
embrace all Ihe essential ingredients of Grose's work, also of Cam- 
den's " Britannia," and be combined with whatever was interesting 
in the recent local histories, agricultural surveys, general tours, &c. 
as well as include such original information as could be obtained. 
Mr. Hood, tbe acting partner of the firm above-mentioned, readily 
agreed to take a principal share in our newly -projected work ; 
and Mr. Brayley and myself commenced a general tour over En- 
gland and Wales, in June, 1800. The first Number, devoted to 
Bedfordshire, was published in April, 1801 ; and from that time 


topographical or antiquarian merit. They were writlen under very unfa, 
vourable and depressing circumstances, and in refeiriug to theni, I wish t» 
obtain the most favourable and candid construction from the topographical cri- 
tic. Mr. Guagh, in the Gentleman's Magaziue, wrote some harsh, but I be- 
lieve, just strictures on them. A third volume, to conclude the work, and 
embrace accounts of such places as ara not noticed in the two volumes, is now 
rendy for the press, and 1 trust is not only better written, but more strictlj 
topographical than tbe former. 


till the conclusion of the Sixth Volume, the publication was con- 
tinued in our joint names, and with our united co-operation, and 
exertion. The Numbers, however, did not appear in regular pe- 
riodical successiott ; which occasioned frequent disputes between 
the Publisher and the authors ; and probably dissatisfied some of 
the most eager readers — It should, however, be remembered that 
the work was not intended to be a mere compilation, nor is it com- 
posed ofselectextructs, as the absurdity of its titleof" Beauties," 
has been supposed to intimate :*— a large portion of it is original 
matter, and the parts derived from printed authorities, were care- 
fully analiscd investigated and acknowledged. This, indeed, must 
to the topographical reader, and to those who will give themselves 
the trouble of comparing tl)e particular account of any place, or 
county, with preceding works. In explanation of one of the de- 
lays of publication, Mr. Brayley penned the following address for 
the wrapper of No. X. 

" The present Number has been delayed partly in consequence 
of my own indisposition, and partly by the absence of Mr. 
Britton, vtho, for the sole purpose of obtaining original and ac- 
curate information, undertook, in the most inclement season of the 
year, [Dec. 1801] to make a journey through the counties of Corn.' 
wall and Devon, in the former of which he is yet pursuing Ws 
researches. It is our moht ardent wish to render The Beauties 
OF England and Wales, as original, as correct, and as intC' 
resting, as any work of a similar nature, and limits, that can ever 
issue from the press. If, therefore, from the delay of promised 
communications, (and this is not one of the least inconveniences 


♦ The title of " Beauties of England," &c. was retained in deference 
to the wishes of the Publisher ; but the authors were so fully sensible of the 
inadequacy of that phrase to explain the nature of the work, that they after- 
■wards subjoined the words " OniciNAi, D£li>£ation5, Topographical, Hit- 
toricul, and Dcscriptivt;," as a secondary title, and more illustrative of its cou 
tents. The title of '• Beauties of England," &c. had been previously adopt- 
ed in two or ihree supcrfcial and slight works, which will be enumerated in a 
idbsequent page. 


we have to combat,) from indisposition, or, from the time whicB 
necessarily elapses in procuring genuine materials, by journeys to 
ditferent parts of tiie kingdom, tlie publication should at any fu- 
ture time, as in this case, be unavoidably protracted, we trust- 
that our Subscribers will pardon the delay ; and the more espe- 
cially, because it will never he resorted to, but when it tends to 
increase the accuracy of the work/' 

Thefirst six Volumes have been jointly executed by Mr. Bray- 
ley and myself; and it is but justice to state, that the greatest 
portion of their literary composition was from the pen of that 
gentleman, who, with much care and exertion, endeavoured to 
render them accurate and original. The principal travelling, cor- 
respondence, labour of accumulating books, documents, direction 
of draughtsmen, engravers, and some other necessary vocations, 
chiefly devolved on me ; and I felt it a pleasure and duty to pro- 
secute my task with zeal and assiduity. At the close of the sixth 
volume it was deemed expedient that each of us should undertake 
to write and conduct a Volume alternately ; and, by arrangement, 
the counties of Hertford, Huntingdon, and Kent, devolved on Mr. 
Brayley, for Vol. VH. ; whilst Lancashire, Leicestershire, and 
Lincolnshire, came under my direction, for Vol. VIIL The former 
counties having extended to two Volumes, mine was numbered IX. 
In the prosecution of this Volume, I was actuated by a favourite 
maxim, that the writer and reader should perfectly understand 
each other ; that there should be no reserve or ambiguity in the 
former, nor suspicion or doubt with the latter. A mutual cor- 
diality and confidence should exist, and then the one would pur- 
sue his labours with comfort and pleasure to himself, whilst the 
other would read with additional advantage and delight : besides, 
in an extensive work, like the present, the author must calculate 
on the communications of intelligent correspondents ; who will 
not be likely to write freely and fully, unless they are confident 
that their favours will be properly appreciated and applied. I 
therefore stated my views and opinions as to the characteristics 



of "the Beauties of England/^ in the foUewing terms, iu a cir- 
cular letter, to many gentlemen of the counties just named. 

" Brevity, perspicuity, and selection, are the most essential 
desiderata iu the present work : which is not intended to inform 
the veteran antiquary and topographer, hut rather to instruct and 
please the general reader. It is not to be considered merely as a 
dry, dull, chronicle of facts, hut a popular History and Descrip- 
tion of the Cities, Towns, Chief Seats, and Antiquities ; 
with the Natural and Artificial Curiosties of every county. 
Its province is to give a pleasing and familiar picture of the^eo- 
graphy, statistics, and national peculiarities of England, in the 
aggregate, and of its parochial characteristics in particular. 
Such is the idea I have formed of what the work, ought to be^ 
and it will be my aim to render the topographical accounts of 
Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, &c. conformable to this 

In regard to that portion of, or rather of London, 
which was written by Mr. Brayley, and in the general work is 
styled the First and Second Parts of Volume X. but which ac- 
tually constitute Volumes in themselves — Mr. Brayley has de- 
sired me to say, *' that (with one exception) the only gen- 
tleman from whom lie obtained any particular writteu informa- 
tion, was his respected friend, Thomas Fisher, Esq. For, 
whatever else appears in those Volumes, up to page 720, of 
the Second Part, was principally obtained by his own labour, 
and his own researches. Much oral information, however, was 
procured during his progress through London, from divers gen- 
tlemen, who declined having their names publicly noticed. 
. " The account of Huntingdonshire was likewise drawn up, 
chiefly, from liis own notes; from the Latin Histories of Ramsey 
Abbey and Ely, published by Gale, in the Decern Scriptores ; 
and from what has been called the ' Cotton Manuscript,* pre- 
■erved among Baker's Collections, in the University Library, at 


On reviewing the commencement, and early progress of this 

w*rk, I cannot but feel greatly astonished at its rapid success 

b and 

and popularity ;_at tKe number and variety of concspondentii 
and friends it called forlii frcm several counties, and at the in- 
fluence it produced on topographical literature. This astonibh- 
iBetit, however, chiefly arises from a knowledge that both myself 
fend ray co-adjutor were unknown in the republic of letters — were 
in very humble stations of life, and consequently without the 
influence or connexion, calculated to produce those eftects. Yek 
thus circamscribed, we gradually and imperceptibly extended 
our sphere of communicatiun — increased the re)»utalion and sale 

W the work, by iraproving its c<intent8, and by demonstrating a 
disposition to be sincere, and to im(>ai't all the information that 
ivas romnunicated. 

Having thus, my dear Sir, detailed all Mich particulars as 
•ccur to me to be material fov publication, I would also furnish 
^ou with corrections and additions to the volumes already referred 

'to; but fear that this task would impel you to extend your In- 
troductory remarks much beyond the prescribed limits.^At first, 
%s already poticed, we were very brief; but, in the course of &{• 

. teen years, I have made so many additions to each county, titat 
t should feel extreme diflicnlty in s^electing from the mass such 

materials as would be di-enied requisite by the general reader, 
and still not be regarded as too prolix for supplementary matter. 
4Iatiy corrections are already printed in llie errata to each Voluiae. 
The Introductory Volnme, to which it i& propose*! to annem 
this statement, I have reason to believe, will be useful and inte- 

^reirting. It is essential to the work, and it was always our inten- 
tion to have written a preliininury memoir; bat, in our calculations, 
concerning the acconnts of Bedfurdsiiire, Berkshire, and Bucking- 
fcimnhire, we were certainly much deceived by s<ipposing that such 
a review wonld make only about half as much ng;iin as the letter- 
press of those counties, and thus constitute a pori ion of the first 
Volume. You have very properly decided on making it a distinct 
Voluflw. ..Lk 

Believe me yours, very truly, « ^ j^.^^ 




The principal circuinstances connected with 
the desig-n and early progress of this undertaking, 
are explained with equal candour and accuracy in 
the preceding comprehensive letter^ Such parti- 
culars relating- to its subsequent procedure, as are 
necessary to be communicated to the Subscribers, 
may be stated in the following terms. 

On the decease of Mr. Hood, which occurred 
in the year 1811, when not more than ten Vo- 
lumes and a few Numbers had appeared, his 
successor declined the future management of the 
work ; and that difficult task was undertaken by 
Mr. Harris, the present Publisher, in attention, to 
the general wish of the remaining proprietors. 
In the performance of a duty implicating so many 
objects, and depending on so great a variety of 
co-adjutors, he has not failed to meet with many 
circumstances productive of delay and perplexity. 
But, conscious of using indefatigable exertions tQ 
Jiastetif as much as was possible, without hurrying, 
the completion ; and equally conscious of adopting 
every measure which appeared to promise benefit 
to the publication ; he relies on the candid approv- 
ance of the Subscribers, and trusts that the work, 
in its general character, is executed consistently 
with their wishes. 

His exertions would have been unavailing with- 
out the co-operation of the other proprietors. He 

b2 Yeels 


feels it necessary and desirable to observe, that 
one sentiment alone has prevailed among the 
whole of those concerned in the property of this 
publication. Viewing- it as a work calculated to 
meet with national encouragement, and to form a 

•legitimate source of topographical information in 
ages subsequent to its first appearance, they de- 
termined on considering expense as a secondary 

'object, and on procuring the best local intelli- 
gence which pecuniary liberality could command. 
It is requisite to state explicitly the different per- 
sons who have assisted in the principal divisions of 
the work, while under the management of the pre- 
sent Publisher. On the secession of Mr. Britton 

. and Mr. Brayley, several writers were engaged to 
investigate and describe different counties. The 
following enumeration shews the gentlemen em- 
ployed for respective districts : — 

, Comprising Nortliumberlaud Rev. John IIodgsoH. 
Vol 12 J Nottinghamshire - -, r - F. C Laird. 

S Oxfordshire ----- J. Nopris Brewer. 
'• (Rutlandshire . - - - . F. C. Laird. 

r Comprising^ Shropshire, Sn-"^ 
Vol. 13. -? mersetshire, and SUitiiord- /• Rev. J. Nightingale. 

(. siiire - - - - - -J 

Vol. 14. { Comprising Suffolk, Surrey, J p^^j..^,^ g ^ , 
( and Jsussex - - - - j 

/ Comprising Warwickshire - J. Ncrris Brewer. 

Vol 15 J Wiltshire - - - - - - John Britton, K.S.A. 

' y Westmorland - - , - - - Rev. John Hodgsou. 

V Worcestershire , - - . F. C. Laird. 

Vol. 16. Yorkshire J. Bigland. 

Vol.17. North Wales Rev. J. Evans. 

Vol. in. South Wales Rev. T. Rees, F.S.A. 



The completion of the Tenth Volume must be 
explained by the following brief statement. — This 
Volume consists of five Parts, and comprises the 
History of London and Westminster, together with 
that of the county of Middlesex. The eighteen 
first Numbers, (ending at page 720, of the Second 
Part,) were written by Mr. Brayley. It then be- 
came desirable to request other assistance ; and 
the task of finishing the topographical account of 
London and Westminster was undertaken by the 
Rev. J. Nightingale. The Part comprising de- 
lineations of Middlesex, as a county separate from 
the metropolis. Was written by Mr. J. Noms 
Brewer, and contains a notice of every parish in 
that county. — It is presumed that the Public will 
duly appreciate the difficulty of continuing the 
pages relating to London and Westminster, on 
a plan not laid down by the writer.* 

In regard to the embellishments, the Publisher 
can truly aver, that engravers of the greatest emi- 
nence> or promise, have been anxiously sought 


* The abov«; five Parts, or Volumes, of the " Beauties or 
England, are puMislied separately, under the following title : 
"Loudon and Middlesex; or an Historical, Commercial, and 
Descriptive Survey of the Metropolis of Great Britain, including 
Skelclies of its Environs, and a Topographical Account of the 
most remarkable Places in the above County. Illustrated with 
Engravings." The price of the Work, in boards, is C)L 5*;' small 
paper ; and large paper, 10/. 

b 3 

after, and their exertions liberally rennmerated. 
He trusts, therefore, that the Plates will be found 
generally executed with due talent and fidelity. 

On finally taking leave of the Subscribers to 
this Work, and (on the present occasion) of its 
numerous friends, the Publisher and Proprietors 
have the sincere gratification arising* from a con- 
sciousness of having endeavoured to realize every 
promise held forth at the commencement of the 
concern, with the exception of a List of thb Sub' 
scribers. This promise was made in the infancy 
of the undertaking ; and the subsequent extension 
of patronage, and alterations proceeding from the 
great length of time eiiiployed in its* completion, 
4^iTl, it is confidently hoped, plead a sufficient apo- 
logy for the abandonment of such a part of the 
original design. 

That very atdHo^s (inr^'of ttre promised con- 
tents, an Introduction, comprising- "a Review 
t)f British, Roman, and Saxon History," has been 

'performed, at an expense of time and labour to 
'^hich the size of the Volume is by no means cor- 

* respondent. 

The Subscribers will recollect that the Tntfd- 
ductory Essay was originally intended to form part 

'of the first Volume, but that its execution was de- 
ferred, on account of " the length of time, aiicl ex- 
.tensive reading, necessary to the full investigation 
and arrangement of tlii^ numerous and complex sub- 


jects it involves.*'* — It is hoped that the same 
causes of delny will obtain an excuse for its late 
appearance, when consig^ned to the hand of a writer 
unconnected with the work in its early stages. But 
he has great pleasure in acknowledg'ing the friendly 
conduct of Mr. Britton, who has, on every oc- 
casion, afforded with most obhging liberality, such 
information as was requested concerning" the piaa 
on which it was originally intended that the Intro- 
dhiction should be executed ; and has, also, favour- 
ed the author with the loan of several rare books. 

It was observed, in a former address to the Sub- 
scribers, that ** The publication of The Beau- 
ties of England and Wales, in a series of 
detached parts, rendered unavoidable a vast num- 
ber of allusions to the state of the country in pris 
ceding times; and to the manners and endowments 
of the inhabitants, and the prevaUing laws, institu- 
tions, and arts at different periods of history. To 
have elucidated these on every occurrence would 
have led to innumerable repetitions ; and entirely 
to omit all elucidation would leave the Work much 
less complete and satisfactory than the Proprietors 
were desirous it should ultimately remain in the 
hands of titeir Subscribers. IVt-cessity, therefore, has 
Combined with inclination in throwing together, as 
Introductory matter, whatever is of general appli- 


* Adverlisempiit on tlic compli^lion of the 6r»l Volume ©f tUcr 
Beauties of EHglunU a.ivJ Wde.s, 



Such terms of explanation, however, scarcely 
apply to the whole of the desiderata which became 
obvious on a more mature consideration of the sub- 
ject. The requisite topics of disquisition in a com- 
plete introduction to the study of English and 
Welsh Topography, were, indeed, found to be so 
multifarious, that it remained only to make a selec- 
tion of the classes imperatively demanding notice. ^ 

In prosecuting this choice of subjects, the Edi- 
tor has been guided by an estimate of the objects 
most frequently occurring in topographical re- 
searches, and least illustrated by remarks to be found, 
in a condensed form, in books easily attainable. 
He has, therefore, selected, as primary objects of 
attention, those subjects of antiquarian enquiry 
which form so large and interesting a portion of the 
" Beauties ;" and concerning which the most sa- 
tisfactory information is scattered in many weighty, 
recondite, and very expensive works. 

In the execution of his task he has abstained, irt 
general practice, from the delivery of individual 
opinion ; and has considered it his duty to present 
9. digest of the remarks afforded by the most judi- 
cious writers upon every sul)ject chosen for discus- 
sion. — Thus endeavouring to render "the Intro^ 
duction to the Beauties," a brief summary of anti^ 
quarian observations- on such topics as appeared to 
be most essential in topographical investigations. 

If the reader should deem his pages deficient in 
tliat relief which springs from anecdote, and which 



lias been cultivated in our County delineations, he 
is requested to recollect that the unavoidable limits 
of the Introduction prevented much attention to 
incidental remark, or studied ornament ; and that 
the first, great object of the Editor was the con- 
veyance of information. In attempting this office, it 
has been his endeavour to facilitate as much as pos- 
sible the study of antiquities, by rendcrin?; the ap- 
proaches easy ; and by referring, in the mai'gin, to 
works of most ready intelligence, while more ab- 
struse authorities are left for notice in the appended 
list of Books treating on the collective topography 
and antiquities of this country. - r. . ,, , 

Anxious to avail himself of the opportunity pre- 
sented by the Introductory Volume, the Editor^ 
under the direction of the Publisher, has collected 
from the writers of several counties some addi- 
tional corrections, together with a few particulars 
of intelligence obtained since the production of 
their respective volumes, or calculated to supply 
omissions ahnost inevitable to the celerity of per 
riodical publication. _ ^ 

It has likewise been judged desirable to insert in 
this volume, summaries of the population, accord- 
ing to the returns made under the authority of Par- 
liament in the year 1811, for all such counties a* 
were described in " the Beauties" i)efore the pub- 
lication of those returns. Thus, as far as was a;t- 
tainable, the Proprietors have endeavoured to ren- 
der their work applicable, in every important 
4- , pointf 

xxfi pRcrAce 

pointy to the existing state of topographical cir- 

A truljr pleasing duty renaains to be performed. 
•—The names of those noblemen and gentlemen 
who favoured this publication with the contribution 
of Plates ; who honoured the different editors with 
a correspondence on the subject of topographical 
information ; or otherwise facilitated the execution 
of these Historical and Descriptive Delineations 
of England and Wales ; have often been noticed, 
daring the progress of the work, only on such su- 
pernnmerary leaves as were liable to be destroyed 
on the binding of the volumes in a complete form. 
..—A grateful sense of respect to these liberal pa- 
trons of the nndertaking, imperatively demands 
that their names should be now collected, and pre- 
sented to the remembrance of the Subscribers and 
the Public, in pages which, from situation, are likely 
to be as durable as those improved by the intelli- 
gence that they afforded. In addition to the tie of 
gratitude, it cannot fail of being desirable to exhi- 
bit the degree of favour obtained in the execution 
of so extensive a topographical work, as a mark of 
the superior liberality of the present age, compared 
.with those in which similar investigations were, 
with greater difficulty, carried into effect. 
- It is requisite, however, that the editors should 
place a faithful record in the annals of topography ; 
•nd it mivst not be concealed that, in nearly every 



county, some partial discouragement occurred, from 
the prejudices or indifference of individuals, whosd 
situation in life should have rendered them superior 
to misapprehension or literary apathy. Insensible 
themselves to the pleasures arising from such a 
])ursuit, these persons forgot that their station and 
opportunities imposed it as a social duty that they 
should aid in the gratification of others, through 
the medium of a publication intended for general 
perusal. — Peace be with the indifferent ! and long 
may their honours of office, or manorial posses- 
sions, lend tranquillity to their slumbers ! The 
contumelious are left to the misery inflicted by in- 
jurious folly, without one wish for an augmentation 
of its pangs. 

The list of those who favoured the work with 
local information and graphic contributions, is 
honourable to the LiI-erary Spirit of the age, 
and is justly a subject of gratification and pride 
with the persons on whom the obligations were 
more particularly bestowed. 

The editor of the lNTROt)UC'4'r()fi inserted 6. 
request for communications on antiquarian subjects, 
of a local character, but admittingf of a general 
application, in thd Gentlemnn*s Magazine, and 
other eligible periodical publications. This ad- 
dress was answered, in a solitary but valuable in- 
stance, by Thomas WAlJ'Ord, Esa. F. A. S. of 
Birdbrook, Essex ; whose politeness of manner 



rendered additionally pleasing- the opinions which 
he communicated on the subjects of crypts, and 
the round towers of churches. 

But the personal applications of the same edi- 
tor were attended with a degree of success en- 
titled to his lastin": ffiatitude. It is with sincere 
pleasure that he acknowledges the assistance of 
the Rev. T. Leman, of Bath, since the name of 
this gentleman must necessarily bestow importance 
on those pages which underwent his revision. To 
Mr. Leman this work is indebted for the drawings 
of the two maps by which it is illustrated. The 
first exhibiting the situation of the different tribe! 
of Britain, with their towns and trackways, as they 
existed at the first invasion of Coesar ; and the se- 
cond containing a display of Roman stations and 

It is here necessary to explain that the latter map 
is formed on one, from a drawing by the Rev. T. 
Leman, inserted in Mr, Hatcher's edition of Rich- 
ard of Cirencester ; to which are added, in the pre- 
sent publication, numerous discoveries made since 
the appearance of that work. — The Proprietors are 
greatly obliged by Mr. Hatcher having permitted 
them to profit by his engraving, in every particular 
useful to the artist employed by themselves. 

That part of the letter-press which relates to 
the geography of ancient Britain, is chiefly formed 
on intelligence conveyed by Mr. Leman ; and it 



is to be regretted that the limits of the Introduc- 
tion prevented the editor from availing himself 
more largely of the rich stores of information un- 
reservedly laid open by so profound and judicious 
an antiquary. All that is of principal value ia 
the remarks on the construction, and charasteristi- 
cal features, of Roman roads, likewise proceeded 
from information and corrections afforded by thie 
same gentleman. 

The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of 
Cloyne, is particularly requested to permit the 
Editor to return thanks for marks of polite atten- 
tion, which were circumscribed only by his diffi- 
dence in intruding on time sp truly valuable a« 
that of his Lordshipj*,r ^-. _:j. »..p .i 

To John Nichols, Esq. F.A.S. he is indebt- 
ed for the loan of several estimable books, and for 
facilities afforded to various objects of enquiry. 

Materials for the article on the Civil Division* 
and Law s of the Anglo-Saxons, were furnished by 
a gentleman whose professional pursuits should 
render him capable of communicating valuable in- 
formation on those subjects. ,..., v. ^. ,,,- •■ - >" 

The above acknowledgments express the extent 
of assistance received by the Editor of the Intro- 
duction, except that he was aided in forming the 
list of books treating on the topography and anti- 
quities of England collectively, by Mr. W. Up- 
coTT, of the London Institution, whose intimate 




ncquaintance with all such publications is proved 
by his useful and curious work, intituled, A Bihlio' 
graphical Account of the principal Works relating 
to English Topography. 

The following Plates were given to the Au- 
thors in the course of the publication, and again 
presented to the Public, in addition to the 
Usual number of Plates promised in the condi- 

Views of Places 

Coleshill - .- - - 
Utow ..... 
8toke Park . . - 
Powderham Castle 

Fulford House- ''*^^ «•' 
Oxton House -y^- •« 
Wo) ford Lodge . . 
Willersley Castle - - 
Gflsfield Hall . . . 

Hermitage at Wliitley 
Belchamp Hall > . 
Audley End - . . 
CufFnells - . . - 
Colney House - - - 
Quarry Hill >» - • 
Interior of Rochester ) 
Cathedral • • 5 
LauoaKt^ ^ r f. . 


Berks The Earl of Radnor 
Bucks The Marquis of Buckingham 
Bucks John Penn, Esq. 
Devon (Two Views) Lord Courtney, 

(by the favour of Mr. Craig) 
Devon Baldwin Fulford, Esq. 
Devon Rev. J, Swete 
Devon General Simcoe 
Derbysh. Richard Arkwright, Esq. 
Essex (Two Views) The Marquis of 

Essex Thomas Walford, Esq. 
Essex Rev. Samuel Rayaiuud 
Essex liord Braybrooke 
Hants Right Hon. George Rose 
Hertford George Anderson, Esq. 
Kent James Burton, Esq. 

Kent Thomas Fisher, Esq. 

Lancash. John Dent, Esq. 


* Thii lirt if «onmunicated to the Editor af the Introductory Volam*, by^ 
Sir. JBrittou. 


Views OF Places ©IVEN by •^' • " ' 

Liverpool Corainer- ^ . 

.,„.,,. ( Lancash. Corporation of Liyerpocd 

cial Buildings - ) '^ ^ . 

Liverpool Town Hail Laacash. Do.. 

Ileatoa Hall (by the) , . „ . , „,.. 

i- c^, \r, • A Laiicash, Earl of Wiliou 

favour of Mr. Craig) ) 

_, , * \ Lancash. George Ormerod, Esq. 

Manchester - - 3 * 

A list of correspondents relating* to the first 
KiNE Volumes, and to Volume the Ele- 
venth, was enclosed with the letter from Mr. 
Britton, ah'eady submitted to the reader. The 
Editor has taken the freedom of introducing it 
in this place, with the view of affording, as far as 
was practicable, a collective and unbroken recortl 
of the principal contributors of literary, or local, 
information to the Beauties of England and Wales, 
in all their parts. 

Prefixed to Mr. Britton's list, is the following 
observation : — ** The warmest acknowledgments 
of nftyself and Mr. Brayley are due to the noble- 
men and gentlemen recorded in the following list, 
as well as to many others who expressly desired 
that their names might not be matle public; yet 
who, nevertheless, communicated much valuable 

The Earl of Harcourt 
Sir Richard C. Hoare, Bart. 
Sir Henry Engletield, Bart. 
John Dent, Esq. 
£dward Kin^, Esq. 

The Rev. Thomas Leman 

The Rev. John Whitaker 

The Rev. James Ingram, Saxojp 

Professor of Oxford 
The Rev. James Dallaway 




The Rev. P. Lathbury 
The Rev Heury White 
The Rev. T. D. Fosbrooke 
The Rev. Slebbing Shaw 
The Rev. P. Parsons 
H. Faulkner, Esq. 
Robert Southcy, Esq. 
I. P. Picard, Esq. 


"The Duke of Bedford 

Earl of Upper Ossory 
Rev. J6hn Markham 
Rev. Thomas Orlebar 

Edward Chapman, Jun. Esq. 
Robert Salmon, Esq. 
Theed Pearse, Esq. 
George Arnald, Esq. 
ilr. Shaw 


The Earl of Malmcsbury 

Earl of Radnor 

Rev. Clement Cruttwell 

Rev. Dr. Brown 

Rev. Warrington 

Rev. J. Shephan 
Benjamin West, Esq. P.R.A. 
John Man, Esq. 
George Cumberland, Esq. 
Matthew Robinson, Esq. 
Mr. Jar man 
Mr. Legge 
Henry Ellis, Esq. 


The Marquis of Buckingham 

William Hamper, Esq. 
William Alexander, Es<}; 
Mr. Edward Dayes 
Mr. Thomas Sharp 
Mr. Henry Kirk White 
Mr. William Cunninglon 
Mr. Thomas Marden 

Dr. Kennedy 
Dr. Herschell 
John Penn, Esq. 
J. O. Oldham, Esq. 
Thomas D. T. Drake, Esq. 


Rev. Dr. Elliston 

Dr. Craven 

Dr. Cory 

Dr. Morgan 

Henry Turner, B. D. 

J. Shaw 

Mr. Luke, B. D. 

Mr, Buck, A. M. 

Francis Sheepshank* 

Cooper Williams 

Mr. Fisher 
J.K.Miller, Esq. Trinity College 
Marshall, Esq. 

Henry Andrews, Esq. 
Mann Hutchesson, Esq. 
Edward Stanley, Esq. 
Mr. distance 

Messrs. I. K. and J. Baldrey 
Mr. John Griffith 
Mr. John Deighton 
Mr. R. Harraden 




Sir Richard C Hoare, Barl. 
Kev. Hugh Cholmondely , 
Holland WatbOii, Esq. 
Edward Dayes, Esq. 
i oil II Thomas Stanley, Esq. 
Mr. Broster 

Lord Elliott 
Lord de Dunstaiiville 
Dr. Cardew 
Dr. Philip 
Kev. Mr. Tiyne 
Mr. T0SS8 
John Whitaker 
R. Polwhele 
J. Foster 
Mai. Hitchiiis 
Mr. Penwarne 


— — Hen nek 
— — Howell 
— - Gilbert 
Colonel Rodd 

Lieutenaut-Governor Melville 
Captain Oats 
Jos* Vivian, Esq. 
Captain James 
Mr. William Drewe 
John Coles, Esq. 
John Stackhouse, Esq. 
T. R. Underwood, Esq. 
William Davey, Esq. 
Captain William Jeiikiu 
John Fcllham, Esq. 
Philip RashWigli, Esq. M.P. 
William Raslilergh, Esq. 

Charles Rashleigh, Esq. 
John Rogers, Esq. 

Rev. Jonathan Boucher 
Robert Warwick, Esq. 
Mr. Lonsdale 
Mrs. Wallace 
Mr. Jollie 
Mr. Clarke 


Sir Robert Wilmot 

Dr. Sleath 
Dr. R. Forester 

Rev. Richard Ward 
George Buxton 
Stebbing Shaw 

Hay man Rooke, Esq. 

Richard Arkwright, £&({. 

Mr. Richard Brown 

Charles Hurt, Esq. 

Thomas Blore, Esq. 

White Watson, Esq. 

Nicholas Cresswell, Esq* 

W. Bray, Esq. F.A.S. 

William Strutt, Esq. 

Siimuel Oldknow, £sq« 

Mr. H. Moore 

Mr. Abraham Dale 

Mr. Jer. Royse 

Mr. William Piatt 

Mr. W. H. Wayne 


Lord Clifford 

Lord Courtney 

Lord Borringdon 
' e 




Sir Lawrence Palk, Bart. 
Sir Bouchier Wray, Bart. 
Sir William Cockburti, Bart. 
General Simcoe 
Colonel Orchard 
Rev. John Bidiake 
Rev. J. Swete 
Rev. R. Polwhele 
Rev. Mr. Froude 
Rev. C. Rochel 
Re V.Mr. Hayue 
Rev. Dr. Watkins 
Martin Durasford, Esq. 
William Davey, Esq. 
Baldwin Fulford, Esq. 
.Tames Northcote, Esq. 
Mr. B. HaydoD 
Mr. H. J. Johns 
William Kennaway, Esq. 
John Feltliam, Esq. 
William Jackson, Esq. 
Edward Strong, Esq. 
Mr. Edward Upham 

Rev. Mr. Moore 
Henry Ellis, Esq. 
William Bryant, Esq. 
Thomas Wild, Esq. 
Mr. William Upham 
Mr. Frampton 


R ?. Johii Brewster 
Rev. J. AUason 

William Turner 

W. Walker 
Thoaiaii Wilson, Esq. 

— Joiinson, Esq. 
Atkinson, Esq. 

William Hutchinson, Esq. 

David Stephenson, Esq. 

Thomas While, Esq. 

William Russel, Esq. 

William Blackburn, Esq. 

Mr. Wilkinson 

Mr. Graham 

Mr. John Hodgsoue 

Mr. Moss 

Miss H. Weatherbur* 


The Miinjuis of Buckingliam 
Lord Braybrooke 
Sir George Benuraont, Bart. 
Rev. Samuel Raymond 
f Rev. James Ward 
Rev. L Thurioe 

Thomas Walford, Esq. ^ 

Thomas Hills, Esq. 
John Conyers, Esq. 
Benjamin Strutt, Esq. 
Lewis Magendie, Esq. 


Rev. James Dallaway 
Rev. J. Evans 

Mr. Dyde, author of History of 


Earl Temple 
Earl of Carnarvon 
Lord Bollon 
Lord Rivers 

Sir Henry B. St. John Mild- 
may, Bart. 



The Right Hon. George Rose 
The Rev. Jos. Jefferson 
The Rev. J. Poulter 
P. C. Methuet), Esq. 
Richard Bull, Esq 
John Ridding, Esq. 
Alexander Hammond, Esq, 
Mr. Duller 
Mr. Thompson 


The Rev. Mr. Lacy 

The Rev. John Webh 

Richard P. Knight, Esq, 

Uvedale Price, Esq. 

I. P. Malcolm, Esq. F.S-A. 

Mr. Allen, Jun. 


Earl of Clarendon 
Earl of Essex 
Lord Viscount Grimston 
Countess Dowager Spencer 
1. B. Pieard, Esq. 
, George Anderson, Esq. 
James Brown, Esq. 
Thomas Bl^re, Esq. 
Thomas Fisher, Esq. 
Robert Williams, Esq. 
Mr. 8ilvesler Harding 


Earl of Darnley 

Admiral Lord Keith, K. B. 

Lord Rokfcby 

General Harris 

Major- General Ford 

Earl of Radnor 
Earl of Wilton 
Lord Bolton 

Sir E. Brydges, Bart. K. ).^ ; 

Dr. Lord "" "- 

Dr. S. F. Simmons, F.S.A. 

Rev, Mark Noble, F.S.A. 

Rev, J. Lyon 

Rev. Philip Parsons 

Robert Foote, Esq. 

William Hammond, Esq. 

Thomas Fisher, Esq. 

J, M. Fector, Esq. 

Edward Hasted Esq. F.R.S. 

Mr. Allen Grebell 

Mr. W. H. King " 

Cholraley Dering, Esq. 

. ■ yi'. 


Sir Richard Clayton, BarL, ,» 

Lady Ann Hamilton , ^ 

Rev. Dr. Whitaker 

Rev. Thomas Staikie 

Rev. John Gresswell 

Rev. J. Harper 

Colonel Stanley j, 

J. H. Markland, Esq. 

George Ormerod, Esq, 

John Dent, Esq. 

E.Wilbrabara Boolle,Esq.M.P, 

John Blackburne, Esq. M. P. 

William Roscoe, Esq. 

Holland Watson, Ego. 

John Towuley, Esq, ^ 

J. Oldknow, Esq. 

Matthew Gregson, Esq. 

George Bullock, Esq. 

James Lonsdale, Esq. 

. c 2 J. Foster 



J. Foster, Esq. 
John Reiinie, Esq. 
Thomas Lister Parker, Esq. 
John Dallon, Esq. 
John Hodson, Esq. M. P. 
Edward Holme, M.D. 
Mr. William Close 
Jos. Gandy, Esq. 
Mr. Joseph Aston 

Lord Brownlow 

Lord Yarborough 

Sir William Earl Welby, Bart. 

Dr. JohnKoa 

Kev. V. P. LilUehales 

Rer. Caley Illingworth 

Charles Tatham, Esq. 

George Anderson, Esq. 

John Ronnie, Esq. 

William Brand, Esq. 

Octavius Gilchrist, Esq. 

Mrs. Pauncefort 

Edmund Turnor, Efeq. 

Mr. William Sheppard 

Mr. E. J. Willson 

Mr. T. Espin 


Sir Jacob Aslley, Bart. M- P. 

Pr. Sayers 

The Rev. J. Astley 

The Rev. Edward Edwar«fs 

The Rev. Robert Ford 

The Rev. Robert Fi>rby 

The Rev. J. Homfray 

The liev. J. Richards 

William Stevenson, Esq. 
John Corry, Esq. Jun. 
Lee Warner, Esq, 
John A. Replon, Esq. 
Edward Jorninghara, Esq. 
Dawson Turner, Esq. * 


Earl of Northampton 
Earl of Upper Ossory 
Octavius Gilchrist^ Es<|. 
Thomas Blore, Esq. 
Robert Henson, Esq. 
George Baker, *Esq. 
John Nichols, Esq. 


The Marquis of Lansdown 

Earl of Radnor 

Lord Bishop of Salisbury 
Sir Richard C. Hoare, Bart. 
R.G. Long, Esq. M.P. 
Colonel Houlton 
The Rev. Archdeacon Co7?e 
Dr. Fovrler 
Dr. Maton 

The Rev. Dr. Va^^m 
Rev. W. L. Bowles 

James Ingram 

Thomas Melhnen 

Edward Duke 

Thomas Leman 

Joseph Hunter 
I Samuel Greetheed 

Francis Aslley 

William Crowe 

Francis Shurray 

T. D. Fosbrooke 


Rev. T. D. Fosbrooke 
RcT. Charles Mayo 
William Beckfortl, Esq. 
Rul[)li Gaby, Esq. 
Robert Sadler, Esq. 
William Scrope, Esq. 
Walter Coleman, Esq. 
John Thomas Mayiie, Esq. 
Barnard Dickinson, Esq. 
Robert Holford, Esq. 

John Bennett, Esq. 
Charles Tatham, Esq, 
John Rock Grosett, Esq. 
Paul C. Methuen, Esq. 
Thomas Timbrell, Esq. 
John Pitt, Esq. M.P. 
Mr. Richard Harris 
Mr. Crocker 
Mr. Cunningtou 

With the last-named county terminates the list 
of contributors communicated by Mr. Britton. 
The correspondents of several subsequent Editors, 
or those who particularly favoured their enquiries, 
are thus gratefully enumerated ; and, in regard 
to some counties, acknowledgments are due to 
noblemen and gentlemen whose name the Editor 
of the Introductory Volume has not the oppor- 
tunity of recording. 


{The County separate from 
L-ondonJ comprised in one 
Volume, written by Mr. J. 
Norris Brewer. 

His Grace the Duke OF NoRTH- 


The R%ht Hon. Lord Nortli- 

The Ri<jlit Hon. Sir Joseph 

Banks, Bart. K.B. 
Rev. Henry Drury 

Edmund Dwyer 
George Byng, Esq. M.P. 
John Walker, Esq. 

Gfcorge Gostling, Esq. 

Josiah Boydell, Esq. 

Thomas Willan, Esq. 

James Hall, Esq. 

Edward Hogg, Esq. 

J. W. Freshfield, Esq. 

John Nichols, Esq. 

Thomas Fisher, Esq. 

J. J. Park, Esq. author of tht 
History of Humpstead 

Mr. Faulkner, author of the 
Histories of Chelsea and 

Mr. Nelson, author of the His- 
tory of Islington 





R. Spearman, Esq. 
W, Heron, Esq. 
Dr. I^ltereon 
Mr. John Adainson 
Mr. John Murray 
Mr. John Chfttoner 

Rer. Archdeacon Eyre 
Rev. John Staanton, D.D. 
J. Strelton, Esq. 
Mr. G. Stretton 
Jonathan Acklom, Esq. 
Messrs. Taylor ai>d Ridge 


John Atkyns, Wright, Esq. M.P. 

The Rer. Dr. Mavor 

The Rev. Bulkeley BandincI, 
M.A. Keeper of the Bodleian 

The Rev. E. G. Walford, chap- 
lain to the Earl of Guilford. 

The Rev. W. Woolston 
A. E. Howman 

The Rev. Pritchard 

J. Joyce 


T. Ellis 

C. Winstanley 

Thomas Hall, Esq. Harpsden^ 

Joiiii Hanscomb, Esq. Bell 

Richard Davis, Esq. Grove 
Cottaire, topographer to hi» 

James Taylor, Esq. Wargrave, 

Henry Hakewill, Esq. 

Mr. R. p. Culham, Henley 

Mr. John Hollier, Thame 

Mr. D. Moore, Thame 

Mr. J. Badcock, Watlington 

The Rev. J. Francis, of Bur- 
ford, communicated some in- 
formation relating to thafc 
town and its neighbourhood 


Thornas Barker, Esq. 

The Editor of the " Beauties" for Shrop- 
shire, Somersetshire, and Staffordshire, 
thus collectively enumerates the principal corre- 
spondents in regard to those parts of the work. 

The Rev. Hugh Owen, M.A. 

Rev. Joshua Tonlmin, D.D. 

Right Rev. Dr. John Milnrr, 
Vicar Apostolic of the Mid- 
land District 

Mr. D. Parkes, of Shrewshory 

J. F. M. Dovaston, Esq. 

M, Wood, Esq. 

John Holme, BLD. ^ 

William Sneyd, Esq. 




The Earl of Warwick 

The Earl of Craveu 

Rev. Dr. Parr 

Rev. John Kendall 

F. Parker Newdigate, Esq. 

Mr. John Nickson, of Coventry 

Henry Uakewill, Esq. 

R. B. Wheler, Esq. author of 
''the History and Antiquities 
of Stratford upon Avon" 

J. Roe, Esq. ol Warwick 

Messrs. Beilby and Knott, of 


Right Hon. Earl of Lotusdale 
Rev. George Barrington 

Dr. Rohinson 

John Waller 

J. L. Leech, M.A. 

J. Pearson 

Edmund Law 
Robert Smirke, Esq. 
Mrs. Atkinson 
Matthew Atkinson, Esq. 
George Gibson, Esq. 
Alderman Pennington, of Ken- 
Mr. Harrison, of Kendal 
Mr. Hutton, of the Museum, 


The Lady Viscountess Beau- 


The late Duke of Devonshire 

The Earl of Carlisle 

Lord Grantham 

Right Hon. John Smith 

Hon. William Stourton 

Very Rev. the Dean of Peter- 

Very Rev. the Deau of Ripoii 

Sir Henry Vavasour, Bart. 

Sir Francis Wood, Bart. 

Sir Thomas White, Bart. 

Sir John Lawson, Bart, 

Charles S. Duiicombe, Esq. 

Thomas Thompson, Esq. M.P. 

Henry B. Barnard, Esq. 

Mr. Alderman Peacock, York 

Marmaduke Constable Maxwell, 
Esq. of Everiugham 

Marmaduke Constable, Esq. of 

T. Hinderwell, Esq. 

Edward Topham, Esq. 

J. H. Maw, Esq. 

Brian Cook, Esq. 

Colonel Wroughlon 

Colonel Wrightsou 

Colonel Vavasour 

T. Clarridjfe, Esq. 

John Lee, Esq. 

CInistopher Alderson, Esq. 

Tlnimas Langhorne, Esq, 

T. h\ Billam, Esq. 

Grey, Esq. 

Billam, M.D. 

William Payne, Esq. 

Rev. Francis Wraugham, F.R.S, 
George Dixon 



Rev. J. lo-n 


Mr. HeA-tley 


R. Affleck 


P. luchbald 


R. Tomliuson 


R. Powel 


John Buckworth 


D. Jenkins 


R. Patrick 
T. Fox 

F. Twigg 
S. Benades 
Mr. Hargrove 
B. Clarkson 

W. Parkin 









Rod ford 

Tiiomas Johnes, Esq. of Ha- 

fod; M.P. 
Sir William Pax ton, of Mid- 

T. Rudd 
John Clapham 

dleton Hall 
Dr. Davies, of Caermarthen 
Richard Philips, Esq. 

The death of the Rev. John Evans, Editor of 
the Seventeenth Volume of the Beauties, com- 
prising an account of Nor'Fh Wale^, has de- 
prived us of an opportunity of recording the 
names of those gentlemen who afforded informa- 
tioB in regard to that division of the principalityr 



ENGLAND and Wales comprehend such parts of the islanil of 
Great Britain, as are south of the Cheviot Hills, and an 
arbitrary line drawn from Solway Firth to the river Tweed. These 
districts are finely diversified in character; and parlake, in the 
Carahrian, or western division, of the mountainous rude grandeur 
of the tracts to the north of the line of boundary. Inother direc- 
tions they are rich in a graceful succession of hill and vale; the 
former being in partial instances only too steep for cultivation, 
and the lowlands almost invariably fertile, or capable of respond- 
ing to the efforts of the Agriculturalist. 

England is famed for an ubnndance of wood, distributed in orna- 
mental proportions; and numerous rivers afford great facilities of 
inland navigation, whilst their diffusive and winding courses are 
favourable to the picturesque adornment of the country. Although 
the metuls deemed precious are rarely found in England or Wales, 
those which are useful to the real wants of roan are discovered 
in salutary plenty ; and have, from the earliest recorded period, 
formed a source of moral energy to the Briton, by propelling him 
to exertions of industry, and by leading him to habits of Com- 
mercial interchange. 

But, iiowevcr estimable may be the natural capacities of a 
country, its real beauties are to be sought in the progress of 
mind amongst its inhabitants. The source of opulence istuJt the 

B auxiliary- 


auxiliary of intellect— In the following brief review of circnin- 
stances generally coniitcled with the topography of South Bri- 
tain and Cambria, I shall make it my pleasing task to direct, at 
every possible opportunity, the attention of the reader to such 
events as appear to illustrate the Data of national advancement 
in morals, science, orlriSle; convinced that a majestic ruin, or 
modern uninjured work of art, depends for leading interest on a 
knowledge of the spirit which induced the erection of the decay- 
ing structure, or which preserves the existing fabric. 

The island of Great Britain, of which England and Wales con- 
stitute the predominating parts, extends from fifty to fifty-eight 
rnd a half degrees of north latitude; and is, consequently, about 
600 geographical miles in length. Its greatest breadth is found 
between the land's End, Cornwall, and the North Foreland, in 
Kent ; and is, in this direction, 320 geographical miles. . In 
British miles the length is computed at 580, and the extreme 
breadth at 370. 

This is the most considerable island of Europe, and approaches, . 
in general outline, towards the form of a triangle. The circuit of 
the three sides, allowing for the devious character of the coast, 
is, by a free estimate, supposed to be about 1800 miles. 

England, including Wales, is situated between 50° and 56* 
north latitude. The greatest length from south to north is about 
400 miles ; and the extent in scjuare miles is computed at ^19,450.* 
England is bounded on the east by the German ocean ; on the 
south by the English Channel ; on the west by St. George's 
Channel; and is divided from Scotland, on the north, by the 
river Tweed, the Cheviot Hills, and that artificial line before 
noticed, which proceeds from the Cheviot Hills to the south- 
west, and meets the Firth of Solway. 

This island was originally termed Albiok ; a name which ap- 

• This statement of tlie extent and contents of Great Britnin, is chieflj 
foiii 4e<l CD Piiikerton's Mudcrn Geography, collated with other authuri- 


pears to have been an usual Celtic term for heights or eminences, 
and is reasonably thought to have been bestowed on it by the 
Gauls of tlie opposite shore, from a contemplation of the tall 
cliffs which rise to the view of those who inhabit the coast in the 
neighbourhood of Calais.* 

The name of Britain was substituted for the original mode of 
designation at a very early period, and probably soon after the 
first settlement of inhabitants in the island. The conjectures of 
antiquaries concerning the etymology of this term are extremely 
numerous. — Camden, with the diffidence usual to a man of true 
genius, when he feels that probable surmise is all that can be 
offered, submits it as possible that the first syllable, or radical 
part of the appellation, alludes to the custom of the inhabitants 
painting their bodies in various colours and devices. But it is not 
by any means clear that the word Brit, or Brith properly implies 
painted in the Celtic. 

Bochart, having recourse to the Greek name of this island, is 
willing to derive it from Baratanac; which, in the Phoenician 
tongue, signifies a land of Tin. 

I pass unnoticed the surmises of various minor writers, and 
state the opinions of BoMase f and Whitaker,:j: as those which 
appear most ingenious, while they partake least of fancy. On 
viewing the usual character of the whole range of primary local 
appellations, it may be rationally believed, with Dr. Borlase, 
that the word Brit, or Brith, signifies some circumstance relating 
to natural situation, rather than to any thing so variable as cus- 
tom or manner. The idea of the disjunction of this country from 
Gaul would be necessarily a prevailing feature in the considera- 
tion of those who resided on the Continent, and of those who 

B 2 boldly 

• Vide Hitt. of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 10. octavo edit, (to whicb edition 
of Mr. Whitaker's work, I, likewise, refer on every subsequent occasion, 
unless the contrary be noticed;) and Genuine Hist, of tlie Britons asserted, 
p. 91. et seq. 

1 Vide .\niiqnities of Cornwall, Chap. 1. 

t Hist, of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 10—12 ; and Genuine Hist, of the Bri. 
tonsasserted, p. '.'9— 32, "Jl— 74, yi— 93, 9.5—103. 

4 iNTRonLCribN. 

boldl}' quilted ils security and first colonized the shores of Albiott. 
lience, au etymon expressive of the circumstance of scpuratioil 
may be sought for with propriety ; and such a mode of exptdiiiiug 
ilic term is readily found. 

According to Whitaker, the appellation of Britain was first 
opplied to the inhabitants rather than to the region; and the 
radical part of the terra is derived from a Celtic word, primarily 
denotinjt separation and division. The same intelligent writer 
observes that the original word appears to have been equally pro- 
nounced Brict, Brit, and Brioth ; Breact, Breac, and Brig ; and 
is still retained in the Welsh Brith, and the Irish Breact, any 
thing divided or striped. " Brit is enlarged into Brit-on, or Brit- 
nii, in the plural, and Brit-an-ec in the relative adjective; and so 
forms the appellation, Brit-an-i, and Brit-an-ic-i ; as 
Brig, in the plural, is altered into Brig-an, and Brig-ant, and 
forms the denomination Brig-ant-es."* 

This argument as to the derivation of the second name by 
uhich onr island was distinguished, is not offered to the reader 
of those pages as probably conclusive, but as one that is quite 
problematical. Still, it appears the more plausible amongst the 
great variety of conjectures.— It must be added that the appella- 
tion of Britain was not anciently peculiar to the island primarily 
dciiominateii Albion, but was common to many of the smaller 
neighbouring isles; and it may be remarked that several writers, 
foreign and native, notice it as a felicitous circumstance that the 
parent-island retains to the existing day the name by which it 
aas known in the first period of ils credible history, while almost 
every other country has lost its early appellation. 

The comparatively modern term of England, by which the 
M)uth part of Britain is now distinguished, is derived from the 
/ingles, a people ascribed to ditiierent parts of the norlh of Ger- 
ft.auy, but who, at the era of the Saxoa invasion, were resident 


• Hist. 0* MaocJ.csttr, p. II. 


Id the dislrict of Anglen, in the duchy of Sleswick.* They vfer« 
among the most numerous and hold of the successful German iu- 
vaders ; but, according to the conjecture of a modern writer, " the 
Ecclesiastical history of Bede, which was written in that part of 
the country, that was possessed by the Angli, contributed greatly 
to the extension and j^eneral acceptation of the modern name," 
There is not any solid authority for believing that Egbert arbi- 
trarily abolished the distinctions between the Saxorjs, Jutes, and 
Angli, and commanded that the island should thenceforward bQ 
called England. 

A compendious statement of the opinions of different etymolo- 
gists, respecting the probable derivation of the names of Cam- 
bria, and Wales, usually given to that partof Britain which is 
situated to the west of the rivers Severn and Dee, is presented in 
the preliminary pages of the seventeenth volume of this workf 


The period at which Britain was first peopled, and the district 
from which its population proceeded, are subjects entirely open 
lo the conjectures of the inquisitive. In common with most other 
nations, the British possesses no record as to its original ; but 
pseudo-historians have risen as abundantly in this as in other 
countries, lo shape chimerse from obscurity, and lo allure by 
fable where fact is wanting. No instruction can be conveyed by 
an analysis of such extravagant representations; and it appears 
that little entertainment is implicated in wild tales respecting 
" Bruto, or Brito, of Trojan extraction, great grandson of iEneas, 

B3 who 

• Vide Turner's lli-t. of ilie Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p, JjO ; and Camden's 

t Vi<le t;ettu»ies. Vol. XVII. p. 1 — K .Accoriilng lo the Welsh Triads, 

three names, oia diilVreiit etymology' to ilmse noticed iibove, were bestowed, 
at dilTerent periods, nn the island of Britain. See these prcsumeJ appella- 
tions (ucnttoaed, p 7. note. 


vrho having by birth and Ijy accident, destroyed both the one and 
the other of his parents, fled his native shore; and, after various 
exploits in Gaul, arrived with his Trojan compeers in this coun- 
try, then inhabited by giants, whose chieftain, Goffuiagog, he over- 
threw, and \tft his own name to the conquered island." But such 
is the narration presented by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in the 
reign of Henry the Second.* The story was treated with con- 
tempt by tlie reflecting, even of his own era; but did not fail 
to gain, in different moditications, some popular credit through 
the medium of subsequent monkish and superstitious, writers. 

According to the most rational hypothesis, and that which is re- 
ceived as probable by the majority of modern judicious writers, this 
island was first peopled from the ueighbuuring shores of Gaul. The 
similitude of manners, language, and religion, which is known 
to have existed between the two countries, in the century pre- 
vious to the Christian era, is in itself an argument of considera- 
ble force. A further argument is deducible from the presumed 
similarity of name to be discovered between the two nations. It 
appears that Gaul was inhabited, at a very early period, by two 
branches of the Cimmerians, bolii of which nations often partook, 
in us'jal acceptation, of the specific term bestowed on each. These 
vcre the Vimbri, frequently denominated the Cimmerii, Cutnri, 
or Gianri; and the Celt.e. The latter name prevailed amongst 
themselves, even when they were denominated Gael by the 
Romans. The appellation of Cimbri is thonght to be still per- 
ceptible in the term Cymry (colloquially pronounced Kumri) ap- 
plied to themselves by the Welsh; whilst that of Gathel, or 
find, is retained by the highbinders of Scollaud.f 


• Kenniiis, who was :in abbot of Banp^r in the seventh centurv, likewise 
;B»e, at llie earlier period in which he floiirisljed. the pedigree of the fanciful 
King lirulo, wbicii he traced up t(» .T'lpiier himself. 

t The Iiiitorical Triads of the WeUh, describe Britain as being first peopled 
t»y the " uutiou of the Cymrv," jind colonized at different periods. Re- 
sjrectingtbc letinuiiv <»J tlj-vc very cuiioui Triads and ihe cyatcnis of those 



The eHcroachments of Belgic tribes on the Celiac, and llieir 
share in the ancient possession of the island, will be noticed in a 
future page. 

The compuUory brevity of a writer who treats on the first popu- 
lation of Brilain, a subject naturally obscure, will create no sur- 
prise, and perliaps little regret.* It may be lamented that an op- 
pressive paucity of legitimate information prevails concerning the 
history of tiic early inhabitants of the island, and Ihe state of 

B 4 their 

which relate to the early history of Brilain, I present an extract from ajudi- 
cious jDodern liistoriiin : " It may not be impropir to slate, in one view, all 
that the Welsh traditions deliver of the ancient inhabitants of the island. 
How far individuals may cliuse to accredit lliem^ is a matter for their own dis- 
cretion to determine. But in the mean time, they ought to be preserved 
from absolute oblivion. 

" According to the Welsh Triads, while the island was uninhabited by 
human colonies, and was full of bears, wolves, beavers, and « peculiar kind 
of wild cattle, it liad the name of Clas Mtrddhin. In this state, Hy Cadarii 
led the first colony of Cymry to ir, of whom some went to Brctagne. It 
then acquired the name ol Y vil Yiiys, the Hontij ULmd. In the course of 
tiiue Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great, reigned in it, and from him it 
was called y«i,« Pryilain, the isle of Prydain, which is its present denomi- 
nation in Welsh, ni^d which the Greeks and Romans seem to have extended 
into Britannia. It was afterwards visited by two foreign tribes, of Kimme- 
rian origin, the Lloegrwys, from Gwasgwyn, orUascouy; and ilie Brython, 
from Llydaw, or Kretagne. Botli of these were peaceable colonists. The 
Lloegrwys impressed their name upon a large portion of the island At sub- 
sequent periods other people have come wiili more or less violence. The 
Romans ; the Gwyddyl Fficti (the J'ict?) to Alban, or Scotland, on the part 
which lies nearest to the Baltic; the Celyddon (Caledonians) to the north 
parts of the island ; the Gwyddyl to other pjirts of Scotland ; the C'orraniaid 
from Pwyll (perhaps iVland) to the Humber; the men of Galcdin, or 
I'landers, to Wyth j the Saxons; and the Llychlyiiians, or Northmen." — 
Turner's Hist, of the Anglo-baxons. Vol 1. pp. 14, 1.5.. 

• The reader who is desirous of invcstigiitinjr more deeply a subject so 
recondite, is referred to some ingenious speculations in Turner's introduc- 
tion to the history of the Anglo-Saxons ; and to tliree letters from the Rev. 
Samuel Gieatheed, respecting the origin of the inhabil.mis of the British 
ielaiids ; .Archatolegi;!, Vol. XVI. 


their moral altaininents, manners, arts, and manufactures, before 
these took a new bias from the victories of the Roman arms. But 
the manners of all nations in an infantile state of society, have 
so near an approximation, with an allowance for the slight dif* 
ference of colouring imparted by external circumstances, that 
probably neither philosophy nor mere curiosity sustains any seri- 
ous deprivation by this sterility of intelligence. 

A narration of the wars carried on by rival Clans, affords but 
little interest when the very names of the parties are preserved 
with difficulty by antiquarian care; and in the tangible remains of 
the early British tribes we have still emphatical monuments of 
their warlike spirit, mingled with indications of such rudeness 
in works of ait as might be expected from a people little conver- 
sant with commerce, and not united under that salutary result of 
mature congregation, one consolidated head of government. 

Our knowledge of the internal polity, of the customs, and even 
of the geographical circumstances, of the early Britons, commences 
with the Roman invasion of the island. The Druids, who, in their 
various classes, engrossed of the learning of those ages first 
known in British history, and who were the chroniclers of events, 
used 110 other than an oral method of record. Thus we rest for 
solid information, concerning the first periods of our national story, 
on Roman and Greek writers; and chiefly on Julius Ca;sar and 
Tacitus. Fortunately for literature, those authors were possessed 
of minds equally comprehensive and acute. Although vanity, and 
motives of personal interest, may have induced the ambitious 
Caesar to have partially misrepresented some circumstances con- 
nected with the dubious success of his own arms, his statements 
in other respects are undoubtedly veracious. The elegant and 
judicious Tacitus cither personally visited Britain in the first cen- 
tury, or obtained intelligence from his father-in-law, Agricola. 

To these great writers of antiquity, assisted chiefly by some 
Greek authors, whose assertions njust often be regarded as of a 
questionable cliaractrr, because seldom founded on actual investi- 
gation, all modern hiittorians are indebted for tlic foundation on 



>vhich they build, when treating of the manners of the early 

In aid of the sober methodical writer, who presents as credible 
only that which he finds stated in specific terms, there have oc-> 
currcd in recent years, some authors of a bold and inquisitive dis- 
position, who have endeavoured to bestow illumination on the 
gloom of our early annals, and to supply the deficiencies of the 
scanty pages, by means of probable deduction. Like Goguet, 
they insist on national arts and manners undergoing a logical 
process ; and while, by an acceptable inference, they aver that 
the people who used chariots must have been acquai:itid with 
various branches of mechanical knowledge, they advert to the 
practices of art connected with such an usage, and contend that 
the coiintry could not, at its interior, have been in the first state 
of rudeness, since there must have been roads, probably improved 
by the labour of the baud, to render the carriage a vehicle capa- 
ble of easy transit. — Foremost amongst these writers stands Mr. 
Whitaker, whose history of Manchester is an Essay on the early 
History of Britain at large. If received with caution, his inge- 
nious work is eminently useful, as he not only elicits, by a ra- 
tional pursuit of argument, many novelties of intelligence, but 
has judiciously corrected numerous mistakes in preceding writers. 
, In the following remarks on the probable condition of the early 
Britons, I tirst notice circumstances generally connected with the 
geographical positions and relations of the different tribes ; and 
afterwards present, in a very succinct form, such observations on 
their religion, customs, polity, and progress in arts and manufac- 
tures, as appear to be necessary for an illustration of their ves- 
tiges, both moral and tangible. 

It has been observed that the patriarchal form of government, 
in its simple state, has never been of long duration in any coun- 
try; for as independent families increased in number, they gradu- 
ally approached nearer to each other; and disputes respecting 
boundaries, as naturally united several into one tribe or clan, as 
the tribes, by alliances and intermarriages, were afterwards con- 


solidated into petty states, under one head or leader. At ^hat 
precise period sucli changes took place in Britain, or in what 
other modes originated its forms of government, it wonid be futile 
to enquire; but the existence of many different tribes, or clans, 
was evidently the state of society at the date of the Roman iu- 

The primary guide in endeavours towards ascertaining the geo- 
graphy of Britain at the earliest recorded period, is Ptolemy of 
Alexandria, the great Geographer, Mathematician, and Astro- 
nomer, who flourished towards the middle of the second century, 
under the Emperors, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius. 
His description of this island is concise and merely geographical, 
but is of higli interest as being composed at so early a period of 
the Roman ascendancy, and while the British nations, even in the 
conquered districts, still retained their ancient names and marks 
of distinction. It will, however, be observed that the writings of 
Ptolemy contain many important errors, and he has fulien into 
some mistakes which affect the whole of his British geography. 
But these inaccuracies are obvious to correction ; and it is as- 
serted by Horsley that " the order in which he disposes the 
towns, rivers, and other places, particularly those on the coast, 
almost equals for usefulness, the distances in the Itinerary, and 
the order in the Noiitia."* In appropriating particular districts, 
by means of the distances in this Geographer, it is further ob- 
served by Horsley "that when the coast is once settled it will be 
proper to consider the relative situation of the towns, with res- 
pect to it, in order to fix them likewise. And when we are sure 


* Ilorslej's Britannia Romaiia, p. 356. — This opinion appears to be ez> 
pressed in terms too strongly favourable. A modern writer, of considerable 
experience and judgnu-nt, observes that "Ptoieray's method of settling the 
positions of his towns by longitude and latitude, promises information nearly 
equal to the Itinerary ; but a very little acquaintance with his Geography, 
will soon convince any one that it is of no use. The position of no town can 
be determined with certainty, on the authority of this learned wEgyptian 
nlone," Reynolds, on the Itinerary of .Antoninus, p. S6. 


of any one or two counties which belong to a people, from the 
towns mentioned as beintj among them, we may guess what other 
neiu^hbouring counties have probably belonged to the same people, 
either by observing what were most likely to be the boundaries, or 
by other collateral evidences."* 

On tiie foundation of this venerable writer alone, aided by the 
calculations of ingenuity, were formed the most acceptable plans 
respecting the locality of the various British tribes which existed 
in his time, until the discovery of the work of Richard of Ciren- 
cester, a monk of Westminster, who flourished in the latter part 
of the 14th century.f But the geographical information convey- 
ed by this industrious monk's " Description of Britain," and by 
bis illustrative map, is considered more valuable than the crude 
outline of Ptolemy, by some of the most intelligent antiquaries 
of the present day, and such as have directed a particular atten- 
tion to the antiquities of the early Britons. In the preface to 
Mr. Hatcher's edition of Richard of Cirencester, it is said, that 
" the most superficial view of the map will suffice to convince us 
of its superior accuracy, not only to the early draughts fabricated 
from the observations recorded by Ptolemy, tut even to those of 
his best commentators. In the geographical description of the 
different tribes, our author has taken his groundwork from Pto- 
lemy, or those from tchom Ptolemy derived Ms information. 
But if he drew his groundwork from the .^gyplian geographer, 
he has made such additions and changes as show a later, more 
correct, and more particular knowledge of the coniitry. He has 
amended a glaring error which Ptolemy committed, in throwing 
the Northern part of the island to the East, and another in placing 
Ireland at too great a distance from Britain. He has also drawn 
up his account of the different slates in a more distinct and re- 
gular form, has mentioned a few additional tribes, omitted others, 


* Britannia Roniana, p. o36. 
t A more particular account of the work of Richard of CirenceslfT, i» 
jiven in il:e ** List of Books," appended to this Introductivn. 


«ud specified some local boundaries, not alluded to by other 

The information afforded by this curious work, is used, in con- 
junction with that of Ptolemy, and his most judicious commen* 
tators, in the following brief statement of the political divisions 
■of those parts of Great Britain, now denominated England and 
Wales, during the sway of the nations who posseKsed iliis island 
previous to the establishment of the Roman power. 

The map of ancient Britain, which accompanies this section 
of our work, exhibits, as nearly as can be ascertained, the si- 
tuation of each tribe, both Celtic and Belgic, at the period 



• Prefacr to Mr. Halclier's edition of Ricliard of Cirencester, Lond. 1809. 

^ The propriety of sucli an assertion will be readily admitted, when it is 
observed, that this map was engraved after a drawing by the Rev. Thomas 
I<craan, of Bath, whose deep researches into British antiqailies are evinced 
in papers contributed to several county histories, and other works. The map 
here presented contains ail the improvements in the geography of ancient 
Britain, suggested by Richard of Cirencester. 

The following enumeration of the different Celtic and Belgic tribes, and 
of the British to%vns, will be found useful for reference, while, atthesaraetime, 
it explains the contents of the map. The R<nuaii characters prefixed to the 
Ctlttt, and the Arabic to the Belgte, correspond with similar characters and 
ligares in the body of the map. The figures prefixed to the towns of the Bri- 
tons, likewise correspond with prefixed figures in the map; and in the under- 
written enumeration is shewn the connexion of each respective town with the 
British trackways, or roads. 

Celtic Tribes, XXII. Belcic Tribes, 7. 

I. Bibroci ") 1. Cantii 

II. SegoDtiaci l 3. Rheroi, or Regnu 
III.Durotriges | 3. Bclgse proper 

IV. Carnabii ^ Senones. 4. Morini 

V. Cimbri j 5. Damnonii 

VI. Hsvdui I 6. Attrcbatcs 

VII. Ancalites J 7. Trinobantcs 

VIII. Dobuni 5 

, Catieutiaoi 

X. Iceni 



principal towns of each petty nation, are likewise marked ; and 
are accompanied by figtires which refer to a statement of their 
ancient and modern names. Thus, the purpose of particular in- 

X. Iceni Cenomanni 

XI. Iceni Coritani 

XII. Cainabii 

XIII. Brigantesi 

XIV. Parisii 

XVI. Sistuatii 

XVII. Ottadiiii 

XVIII. Gadeni 

XIX. Silurcs 

XX. Diinecii£ 

XXI. Ordavices 

XXII. Cangiant 



Om the South Watlino Street. 

1. Rhulupis, llichbornugh 

2. Durowrnuin, Cdnterburtf 

3. Durobrivaj, Rochester 

4. Noviotnagus, Holwood Hill 
. TrinobautuiQ, London 

'. V'erolam, Vtrulam 

Durocobriv'se, Maiden Botcer, 
near Dunstahle 

8. Benonis, Claycheittr 

9. Etoceluin, WfU 
lO.Uriconium, W rot iter 

11. Mediolanum, Clawdd Goch 
ti. Segontiuni, Caer Segont 
13. Holyhead 

On the North Wati.ino Stkest. 

14. Breraeniuin, RitchesUr 

15. F.piacnm, Lanckester 

16. Viiioviuro, Binchester 

17. Cataractoiiis, Catterieh 

18. Olicana, llhlty 

19. ('arabodunum. Slack 
'20. Dera, Chester 

IS. Hdyhtad 


21. Ad Tautn, Taesborough 

7, Durocobrivae, Maiden Bower 

22. Sorbiodunum, Old Sarum 

23. Iberium, Bere 

24. Durinuin, Maiden castle 

25. I sea, Exeter 

26. Tamara, on the Tamar 

27. Voluba, on the Fowey 

28. Cenia, on the Fal 

On the Rvknield Street. 

29. • . . . Chestcr-Ie-Street 

16. Vinovium 
17. Cataractonis 

30. Isuriuni, Aldborotigh 

9. Etocetum. 

31. Alauna, Alcester, Warwickshire 

32. Ariconiuni, Berry HiU,nearRoif 

33. Gobanniuni, Abergavenny 

34. Alaridunum, Caermarthen 

35. Menapia, near St, David's- 

On the Ermyn Street. 

16. Vinovium 

17. Catar.iclobis 



formation 'will be best gratified by a reference to a map so com- 
prehensively arranged. But, with a view of facilitating the re- 
searches of the reader, I present an enumeration, and general 
notice of the tribes which formed the population of Britain, pre- 
vious to the conquests effected by the Romans, and whose appel* 
lations so often occur in various pages of the " Beauties of Ed- 
gland and Wales." 
Before we enter on such an examination, it is, however, neces- 

17. Cataractonb 
SO, Isurium 

36. Eburacum, York 

37. Petuaria, Brough 

38. LindHm, Lincoln 

39. Durnomagus, Castor 

5. Trinobautum. 
4. Noviomagus 

40. Anderida Portus, Pevensey 

On the Ikeman Street. 

7. Durocobrivae 

41. Coriaium, Cirencester 
43. Venta Silurura, Caerweiti 
43. Isca, Caerleon 

34. Maridunura 
35. Menapia 

On the Fossb. 
38. Lindum 

44. Ratae, Leicester 

8. Benoais 
41. Coriniuin 

45. Aquae Sulis, Bath 
45. Ischalis, Ilchester 

47. Moridunutn, Seaton 

On the Uppeh Saltwat 

48. Saliaa?, Droitwich 

49. Venta Belgarura, Winchetttr 

50. Clausentum, Bittern 

On the Westeen Trackway. 

51. Luguballiuni, Carlisle 

52. Cucciuro, Blackrode 

48. SalincB 

53. Branogena, Worcester 

54. Glcvum, Gloucester 

55. Uxelia, near Bridgev>ater 

S5. Isca 

Other British Towns, not immediately on the foregoing Track' 
ways, but mentioned by Richard of Cirencester. 

64. Carualodanum, Lexdeu, 

65. Lovantiuin, Llanio 

66. Maj;na, Kentchester 

67. Brnnogeiiiutu, near Lentwarden 

68. Caraboricum, Cambridge 

69. Kerigoniuin, Ribchtster 

Portus Magnus, Portchester 

.56. Regentium, Chichester 

57. Halangium, Cambre. 

58. Mu&idum, near Stratton 

59. Artavia, Harllaitd Point 

60. Terniolus, MoUaud 

61. Leoiauiji, Stut/all cattle 

62. Dubris, Dover 

63. Uegulbiuai, Recuker' 

70. Portus Felix, at the mouth of itki 


71, Galacum. 


sary to remind the reader, that these large portions of the island, 
though inhabited by various tribes, were really peopled by two 
nations only ; the aboriginal, or Celtic inhabitants, and the 

The geographical line of distinction between the Celtic and 
Belgic settlers, at the date of Caesar's first invasion, is carefully * 
marked in the annexed map ; but, in order to present a mor« 
perspicuous view of the effects of the Belgic invasion of Britain, 
as connected with the locality and future history of the abori- 
ginal inhabitants, it may be observed, that the Celts, who hadj 
at an early period, occupied all such parts of Britain as lay to 
the south of the Tliames, from the coast of Kent to the extre- 
mity of Cornwall, were distinguished by the general name of 
Senones.* The respective tribes of the people, thus recognised 
by a general appellation, were named : — 1. The Bihroci, who 
occupied the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and part of 
Berks. W.lihe Segontiuci, dwelling in Hampshire and Berk- 
shire. III. The Durotriges, in Dorsetshire. IV. The Carnabii, 
and V. The Cimbri, seated in Devonshire, Cornwall, and part of 
-Somersetshire. VI. The Hcedui, in Somersetshire, Gloucester- 
shire, and Wilts. VII. The Ancalites, who possessed a small 
district, partly on the south of the river Thames, near Henley. 

Concerning the above tribes may be submitted the following 

The BiBROcif are said, by Richard of Cirencester, to have 
inhabited Bibrocum, Rogentium, and Noviomagus. The site 
of the first-named place, (the Bibracte of the Itinerary) is un- 
certain. Regentium is placed at Chichester, and Noviomagus at 
Holwood Hill. 

The SeqontiaciJ were seated in the norlh-west part of Hamp- 

• Richard of Cirencester, p. 37, Hatcher's edit, and remark by the Rev. 
Thomas Leinan. 

+ The bibroci are mentioned in the Beauties for Berkshire, p. 8."*. 

J For some accoint of the Segnutiaci, lee Beautie* fur Hants, ]>. 5, and f»r 
Perks, p. 83. 

16 iNTKOftUCTIdN. 

sliire, and in a part of Berks on the south-ijresl ; haTiiig for tlieir 
chief city Vindonis. 

The territory of the Durotriges* comprised the present 
county of Dorset, and their capital was Durinum, (Maiden cas- 
tle, near Dorchester.) 

The CARNABiif occupied the north and west of Cornwall, to 
the Land's end ; having for their chief cities Musidum, and Ha- 
langiutn ; tlie former supposed to have stood near Stratton, and 
the last at Carnbrc. 

The CiMBKi possessed the 8outh*west part of Somerset, and 
the north of Devon. Their principal towns were Termolus 
(uncertain as to site) and Artavia (probably near Hartland- 

The IJjEduiJ occupied the whole of Soraersel shire, except 
the south-west comer, together with a part of the south of Glou- 
cestershire, and of the north-west of Wilts. Their chief towns 
were lichalis, (Ilchester) Avalonia, (Glastonbury) and Aqua 
Siilis, (Rath.) 

The remaining Celtic tribes of Britain were distingnished by 
the following appellations, and were distributed over the island 
in the following manner, at the date of Caesar's first invasion. 

TheCATiEucHLANf, Or Catieuclani, consisted of two tribes, 
which were denominated Dobuni and Cassii; and their domi- 
nions extended from the Severn to the German Ocean. 

Of these, thcDoBrNi|| {termed Boduni, by Dio) are placed 
by ancient geographers in the counties of Oxford, Gloucester, 
and Worcester. § In the " Beauties" for Oxfordshire, it is sug- 
gested, that the appellation of Dobuni signifies a race possessing 


* Seethe Durotriges noticed. Beauties for Dorsetshire, p. 321. 
f The Carnabii of Cornwall are noticed in the Beauties for that coanty« p. 

J The Haedui are mentioned in the Beauties for Wilts, p. 5. 
H Tlie Dobuni are noticed in the Beauties for Oxfordshire, p. 2 — 6 ; and 
fur Gloucestershire, p. 497. 

$ In regard to their exact lines of territory, it is said, in the notes on Ri- 


lands on river-sides, a people who are stream-borderers. It is 
obvious, that u name, if derived from allusions to localfty, would 
be bestowed on a tribe from its primary circumstances of inha- 
bitation ; and it is probable, that the Dobuni first look posses- 
sion of the lowlands of these districts, and consequently were 
dwellers in the vicinity of sucIj great streams as formed distin- 
guishing features in the character of surrounding country. CV 
rinium, Cirencester in Gloucestershire, was their capital. 

The Cassii* appear to have occupied the tract of country 
now divided into the counties of Hertford, Bedford, Buckingham, 
Middlesex, and Essex ; having their principal town at Verola^ 
miuni, (St. Alban's.) 

To the north of the Thames dwelt the people known by the 
general nameof IcENi,t divided into two tribes, termed the /cn/i 
magni, or Cenomanni ; and the Iceni Coritani. 

The territory of the Iceni Magni is said, in a note on Richard 
of Cirencester, " to liave stretched from the Stour to the north 
of the Nen and the Ouse, possibly to the Welland; and, on the 
west, to the boundaries of the Caruabii a?»d Dobuni." A precise 
definition of the extent of territory possessed by this, or any other 
of the British tribes, would appear to be of little importance, un- 
less connected with some historical incident, or illustrative of a 
peculiarity in custom or manner, as displayed in tangible vestiges. 
According to the opinions usually received, the Iceni Magni are 
believed to have been the ancient inhabitants of the present coun- 
ties of Huntingdon, Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, and part of 
Northamptonshire. They had for their capital, Taeshorough, in 

C Norfolk, 

chard of Cirencester, that " they were bounded on the west by the Severn, 
on the south by the Thames, on the east by the Cbarwell, and on the aorth 
by the Camabii." Richard of Ciren. Edit. 1809, p. 46. 

* See the Caisii noticed in the Beauties for Hertfordshire, p. 5 ; for Bed- 
fordshire, p. 1 i and for Buckinghamshire, p. 276. 

t For statements of many particulars relating to the Iceni, »ee Beauties for 
Huntingdonshire, p. 325 — 326 ; for Cambridgeshire, p. 3—7 ; and for Kor- 
Iblk, p. 1—3. 


Norfolk, vrhicli the Romaus removed afterwards to Castor, ne^ 

The IcENi CoRiTANi,* or, as they are often termed the Coiu 
ICENI, appear chiefly to have inhabited the counties of Lincoln, 
Leicester, Nottin^hanj, Derby, and Rutland, veith the remaining 
part of Northamptonshire. Their chief city was Rag<B, or RtUoc 

The original Celtic population of the district now termed Wales, 
will be mentioned in a future page; and I, therefore, proceed to- 
wards the north, in which direction, to the westward of the Cor- 
itaui, were seated the Carnabii, or CoRNAVii.f whose territo- 
ries are believed to have extended over a great part of the fol- 
lowing counties :— Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, 
Shropshire, and Cheshire. (The remainder of the two former of 
these counties appears to have been possessed by a tribe which is 
termed Huiccii, by Bede, but is called Jugantes, by Tacitus, 
and whose name is now commonly written JViceii.) The metro- 
polis of the Carnabii was Uriconium (Wroxeter.) 

To the north of the Carnabii and the Coritani, were situated 
the Brigantes,^ who constituted the most numerous and power- 
ful of the British nations, at the time of the Roman invasion.— 
Their dominions extended over the present counties of Durham, 
York, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Lancaster. But parts of 
the western border of this great territory were occupied by two 
tribes, of distinct appellations, although subject to the government 


• The Coritani are noticed in the Beauties for Rutlandshire, p. 4 ; for 
LeicettertLire, p. 3l3 ; for Nultinghamshire, p. 2 ; and for Derbyshire, 
p. 291. 

■f For notices of the Carnabii, or Cornavii, see Beauties for Warwickshire, 
p. i — 3 ; for Worcestershire, p. 3 — 5 ; for Staffordshire, p. 717 — 719 ; and 
for Cheshire, p 183—18*. 

J For notices of the tribe termed Brigantes, »ee Beautie* for Darhani, 
p. 5—6 ; for Yorkshire, p. 1—8 ; and 668 — 669 ; for Westmoreland, p. 1 ; for 
Cumberland, p. 3 — 5 ; and for Lancashire, p. 5—7. The Sistuntii and the 
Voiontii are noticed in the same pages, with an exception of tho«e forYBri- 


of the Brigantes. These were entitled the Volcntii and Sis- 
TDNTii.* The interest created by tlieir names, is, however, very 
slight, as the most important events connected with their story must 
be sought in the annals of the Brigantes. This latter potent and 
predominating tribe owned numerous towns, the principal of which 
was Isurium (Aldborough, near Boroughbridge.) 

In addition to the above particulars respecting Brigantia, it 
must be observed, that a people termed the Parish are mention- 
ed, both by Richard and Ptolemy, as living in that district which 
is now termed the East Riding of York. But it is conjectured 
by Baxter, Whitaker, and other modern writers, that the Parisit 
did not constitute a separate tribe, and were merely the Cangi, 
or herdsmen of the Brigantes. It is certain, that they were sub- 
ordinate to that powerful nation ; and if they had not been se- 
parately noticed by early geographers, the historian would be 
quite indifferent as to their identity and presumed characteris- 
tics. Their only town, according to Ptolemy, was called Pe- 
/uaria (Brough on the Humber) although a second, termed Partus 
Felix, is noticed by Richard of Cirencester, which, probably, 
was situated near the mouth of that river. 

The most northern tribes of the country now denominated En- 
gland were the Ottadini| and ihe Gadeni, who held such parts 
of the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland as are north of 
the Tyne ; and the domains of the former are supposed to have 
extended into Scotland, as far as the extremity of Lothian; thus 
comprising a long and fine extent of sea-coast. Ptolemy, to 

C 2 whose 

• The geographical positions of these tribes are marked in the annexed 
map ; and the following observations concerning their exact limits, together 
with those of the Brigantes, are presented in the notes on Richard of Ciren- 
cester, p. 51. The territory of the Brigantes proper, *' stretched from the 
bounds of the Parisii, northward to the Tine ; and from the Hurober and 
Don to the mountains of Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland. To the 
Voluniii belonged the western part of Lancashire ; and to the Sistuntii, th« 
west of Westmoreland and Cumberland, as far as the Wall." 

t The tribe termed Ottadiui, is noticed ia the Beauties for Northambcft 
Und, p. 1—2. 


whose geography wc are chiefly indebted for ©ur kiiowedge of 
this people, describes them as possessing two principal towns, 
named Bremenium* and Curia. On the testimony of Richard, 
the former is believed to have been the capital of the Ottadini, 
and is knowB to have occupied the site of Riechester, eight miles 
north of Risingham. 

The aboriginal population of WALES is noticed, at some 
length, in the pages which are introductory to the account of 
(Cambria, forming part of the " Beaulies".f But the respective ter- 
ritorial possessions of each tribe, are defined in terms so brief, yet 
perspicuous, in the following passages, that, with the permission 
of their learned author, I present them, as the most desirable 
means of communicating concise information on this head. 

«* The Silures, with their two dependent tribes, the Dimecice, 
and the Ordovices, possessed all the country to the west of the 
Severn and the Dee, together with the island of Anglesey. 

" Of these territories, the DimecicE had the counties of Pem- 
broke, Cardigan, and Caermarthen ; while the Silures possessed 
all the rest of South Wales, as well as such parts of England ns 
lay to the west of the Severn, and to the south of the Teme. 
The Ordovices occupied all North Wales, as well as all the coun- 
fry to the north of the Teme, and to the west of the Severn and 
the Dee, except a small tract of country to the west of Bangor and 
Pwlwelly-bay, which belonged, together with the isle of Angle- 
sey, to their subordinate clan, the Cangiani.X" 

After a long possession of this island, throughout all its most 
fertile districts, the original Celtic inhabitants were compelled to 
admit as participators in so fair a territory, the Belgje, a Teu- 
tonic people (and the common parent of the Romans, the Saxous, 


• See sorae corinus particalars relating to tlie lite and remains of this M* 
eient city, in tLe Beauties for Northumberland, p. 149 — 153. 

+ Vide Beauties, Vol. XVII. p. 5—6. 

i Note on Richard of Cirencester, bj the Eer, Thomas Lemaft 


the Danes, and the Normans,)* who are supposed to have first mi- 
grated into Britain, about three centuries previous to the arrival 
of Caesar.f These invaders speedily eflfected a settlement in the 
southern and western parts of Britain; and, in process of time, 
extended their conquests from the shores of Kent, to the extre- 
mity of Cornwall. At the date of the first invasion of Julius 
Caesar, the Belgae, thus settled in Britain, consisted of th% fol- 
lowing seven colonies : — I. the Cantii, of Kent ; 2. the Regni, 
or Rhemi, of Surrey and Sussex; 3. the Proper Belgcp, of 
Hampshire and Wiltshire ; 4. the Attrebates, of Hampshire and 
Berkshire; 5. the Morini, of Dorsetshire; 6. the Damnonii, 
of Devonshire and Cornwall ; and 7. the Trinobanfes, of Essex 
and Herts. 

Thus, the before- mentioned Celtic inhabitants of the southern 
and western parts of Britain, were expelled by the following 
Belgic colonies : the Cantii, who gained possession of all the 
country, from the mouth of the Thames to the Rother; the 
Regni, or Rhemi, who extended their conquests from thence to 
the western borders of Sussex ; the Belgae proper, who over-raa 
all the country westward, to the banks of the Stour in Dorset- 
shire; the Morini, who continued their conquests to the Ax; the 
Damnonii, who subdued the whole remainder of country on 
the west, to the banks of the Fal ; the Attrebates, who dnive the 
Segonliaci from the banks of the Thames ; and the Trinobautes, 
who, crossing the Thames, and invading the Eastern Cassii, ex- 
tended their conquests to the Stour, and the middle of Hertford- 

C 3 A more 

* See Remarts on the Early inhabitants of Britain, History of Hertford- 
shire, Vol. I. p. 12. 

f Genuine Hist, of the Britons asserted, p. 63 — 65. 

$ From this statement of Belgic conquests must be excepted, "a confined 
territory, which was left to the Sfgontiaci, under its capital Fendomis; and 
the mountains of Somersetshire, Cornwall, and Devon, all which still re- 
mained possessed by the Camabii and the Cimbri." History of Hertford, 
ihire, p. 11. 


A more particular account of the geographical circumstances of 
each Belgic tribe, at the date of Caesar's first invasion, may, 
however, be desirable. 

The Cantii * inhabited the country which is now termed 
Kent; and their territories comprised the whole of that county, 
with the exception of a small district that belonged to the Regni. 
They arc described by Caesar as the most civilized of all the Bri- 
tons, and as differing but very little in their manners from their 
brethren in Gaul. Their capital was Durovernum (Canter- 

The Rkgni, or RHEMi,t occupied the sea coast from Rye 
Harbour, on the border of Sussex, and the whole interior of that 
county, together with Surrey, a small part of Hants and Berks, 
and a very trifling portion of Kent. Noviomagus, written NeO' 
magus by Ptolemy, (Holwood hill) was their metropolis. 

The territories of the Belgje proper comprehended the 
greater part of Hampshire and Wiltshire; other parts being still 
retained by the Celtic Segontiaci. Certain portions of Wiltshire, 
are, however, supposed by some writers to have been occupied 
^y the tribe denominated Ceangi,;^ nearly at the period of the 


• For a notice of the Cantii, and of some historical events relating to that 
people, see Beauties for Kent, p. 406, et seq. 

t See the Regni noticed in the Beauties for Sussex, p. 23; and for Sur- 
rey, p. 30. 

J Tfce Cangi, Ceaugi, or Cangani (for these terras are usually supposed to, 
be descriptive of the sarae people,) are mentioned by Tacitus, as dwelling 
near the sea "which looks towards Ireland." Camden it inclined to place 
them either in Somersetshire or Cheshire ; but traces of the appellation by 
which they are known, may be discovered in varions other counties. Some 
modern antiquaries, of whom Baxter (vide Gloss. Bril.)and Whitaker (vide 
Hist, of Manchester) are the principal, suppose that the Cangi were not a 
distinct tribe, but merely such of the youth of different British nations, as 
were employed in watching the herds and flocks. Persons engaged in such 
a duty would be armed, for the defence of their herds from the attack of 
rival Clans, or from the ferocity of bea.'-ts of prey ; and as tliey were proba- 



iavasion under Julius Caesar: and the people tbus described, to* 
gether with the Attrebates, are conjectured by other antiquaries 
to have possessed a part of that couuty, so late as the date of the 
invasion under Claudius. 

In the above statement of the possessions of the Belgae proper,* 
I have followed the account of Richard of Cirencester, as illus- 
trated by the able notes of Mr. Leman. The towns unquestiona- 
bly belonging to this people are noticed in the annexed Map. 
Venta f (Winchester) which Richard mentions as a "noble city,** 
was their capital. — In regard to the name by which this tribe is 
distinguished, it may be observed that they are often termed the 
Proper Belg<r- by modern historians and antiquaries, in contra- 
distinction either from such colonies of the same stock, as had 
obtained an earlier footing, and had effected au intermingled set- 
tlement with Celtic tribes more towards the interior of south Bri- 
tain ; or from such nations as were conquered by the Belgic arms« 
and were become tributary. 

The MoRixi,t having subdued the Durotriges, who origi- 
nally possessed Dorsetshire, fixed themselves in that district; 
and their territory is believed to have comprehended the whole of 
the present county. Their capital was Dunium, or Durinum 
(Maiden Castle, near Dorchester, which last place was subse- 
quently the Roman station.) 

4 The 

bly considerable in number, thej might venture on opposing the Romans, at 
least when those enemies appeared only in straggling parties. — Such is the 
hypothesis of the above writers ; and considering the frequency, and the 
dissimilarity of situation, in which traces uf the Cangi or Ceaiigi occur, the 
conjecture certainly wears an air of probability. — For some remarks on this 
subject, see Beauties for Chesliire, p. 184 — 185; aud for Wilts, p. 5—6. 

* For some notice of the fieigae, and their possessions, see Beauties for 
Hampshire, p. 5 — 6; for Wiltshire, p. 5— 7 ; and for Somerseuhire, p. 339 

t The capital of the Celtic tribe, the Segontiaci,' before the invasion of the 
Belgae, was at Old Wincheilet, which the Belgas removed to the present site 
of New Winchester. 

$ The Morini are mentioned in the Beauties for Dorsetshire, p. 3f 1. 


The Damnonii, or Danmonii,* occupied Devonshire, and 
the south-east part of Cornwall; having for their metropolis, I$ca 

The Atthebates, or ATTREBAxii.f possessed the north-east 
part of Hampshire, and the south and north-east parts of the 
county of Berks; (the remaining parts of those districts being re- 
tained by the Segontiaci.) The only town mentioned by Ptolemy 
as belonging to this tribe, is termed Nalcua by that writer ; 
which is generally agreed to have been the same with the Calleva 
of Antoninus, and the Calkha of Richard. Much uncertainty 
has prevailed as to the probable site of this town, the capital of 
the Attrtbates. But, in the commentary on Richard's Itinerary, 
strong arguments are adduced for ascribing it to Silchester, that 
Tenerable spot which now presents so impressive an outline of a 
vast Roman city, deserted by inhabitants, and remote from the 
track of all travellers, except those led by curiosity to examine 
its massy and extensive walls. 

To the north of the Canlii and of the Thames, were seated the 
Trinobantes, or Trinovantes, j who inhabited the districts 
now denominated Middlesex and Essex, together with a part of 
Hertfordshire ; having Trinobantum, or Trinovantum (after- 
wards belter known by the names of Londinium and Augusta) for 
their capital.§ According to Mr. Whitaker,|| and his opinion 
has a great a])pearance of correctness, the Trinobantes were no 


• For inanj particulars respeftlng the Damnonil and their possessions, sec 
Seauties for Comwull, p. 3ll, etseq; and Beauties for Devonshire, p. 5. 

t The Altrebates are mentioned iu tlie Beauties for Berkshire, p. 83 — 84. 

$ The Trinobantes are noticed in the Beauties for London and Middlesex, 
p. 1 ; and for Essex, p. 243. 

§ It is observed by Mr. Whitaker (Hist, of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 100. 
notes) that " Ptolemy, who places the Cantii in all the south of Middlesex, 
fixes the Ttinoantes in Essex only. But as the Trinoantes, according to 
Sichard, p. 23, &c. once resided in Middlesex, Ptolemy's account of the 
Cantii and Trinoantes was taken from records of two different dates, and 
ought, therefore, to be referred todiffeient periods." ^ 

;! Hist, of Manchester, Vol. II. p. 205. 


elher than a branch of the Cantii, which spread over all Middle- 
sex and Essex, and, as "Novantes, or Newcomers, into Mid- 
dlesex, had their fortress distinguished by the appellation of 
TrC'Novantum, or the town of the Novantes." It may, how- 
ever, be observed that an etymology of this terra, quite different 
from that given by Mr. Whitaker, is presented in that page of 
the Beauties of Kngland, to which I have referred for some fur- 
ther particulars concerning these ancient inhabitants of Mid- 

In concluding this brief geographical survey of the population 
of ancient Britain, it is desirable to remind the reader that we 
shall certainly fall into a considerable error, if we believe that the 
present boundary marks ofthe different counties afford a close re- 
semblance to those of the kingdoms, or petty states, into which 
Britain was divided before the interference of the Romans. — la 
forming an estimate of the probable limits of such territories, we, 
perhaps, find the best guide in a careful consideration of natural 
circumstances. Rivers and ranges of mountains formed lines of 
natural boundary, which, in most instances, must have been 
adopted by a rude people, and which do, in fact, constitute the 
limits of many countries in the present improved state of society. 
A mode of calculation on the extent of territory possessed by each 
British tribe, formed on such a consideration of imperative natural 
circumstances, will be obvious in many of the remarks submit- 
ted in the preceding pages. 

The reader who compares the above statements, concerning the 
territories of the various British tribes, with the accoupts of those 
petty nations prefixed to respective portions of the Beauties of 
England and Wales, will not neglect to hold in remembrance that 
the Map of ancient Britain, and the observations by which it is 
accompanied, apply entirely to one period, — the first invasion of 
tlie island under Julius Caesar. Such a view was chosea, on the 
principle of its embracing the point of history most useful and 
interesting to the English and Welsh topographer. 

A perusal of the foregoing historical Analysis, and a reference 



to the tables of division between the Celtic and Belgie tribes, will 
enable the reader to detect any casual errors of appropriation into 
which the editors of this work may have fallen, whilst merely en- 
gaged in the description of a particular district. 

Each of the numerous small states mentioned above, whether 
Celtic or Belgie, constituted a separate monarchy, the right of suc- 
cession to which was of an hereditary nature. Thus divided into 
distinct communities, each under its respective head, the whole 
of the Britons were evidently in that state of society which im- 
mediately succeeds to the patriarchal, when they were first called 
to defend their country against so potent an enemy as the 
Romans. Their want of general unanimity is noticed, by seve- 
ral Roman and Greek writers, as one of the great causes of their 
want of success in opposing the Roman invasion. But, notwith- 
standing the remarks of those writers, it is certain that the Bri- 
tish tribes were accustomed to unit« their forces under one leader, 
on the advance of a common enemy. This officer appears, how- 
ever, to have been merely a military commander-in-chief,- and 
was one of the British kings, created, on the approach of danger, 
Pendragon, or commandant over the other allied sovereigns. 
Such were CassivellauBus: and Caractacus. 

As we are not informed of any difference between the political 
constitution, the religious ceremonials, and prevailing latcs, of 
the Celtic and Belgie Britons, the following observations on 
these subjects, apply to them collectively, as forming the 
population of this island at the date of the Roman inva- 

It is believed that the power of the respective British Kings 
was far from being arbitrary or extensive; and that the chief civil 
duties of the state, including the privileges of forming and ad- 
ministering laws, were vested in the ministers of religion. 

The members of tliis potent priesthood, are known by the gene- 
ral name of Druids; but they are described, on the testimony of 
ancient writers, as being divided into three classes, appropriated 
to different branches of learning, and engaged in performing dis- 


tiirct offices. These three classes are usually denominated Bards, 
Druids, and Faids,* Some of the peculiar duties of each class, 
together with the nature of the religion which they taught, and 
many of its ceremonials, may be thus stated, on the authority of 
contemporary Roman and Greek writers. «, , 

The Bards exercised the office of historical and genealogical 
poets. The Druids, who were far more numerous than either of 
the other classes, performed the principal offices of religion; 
'whilst the Faids were the religious poets and presumptive pro- 
phets of the association. They composed hymns iu honour of 
the Gods, which they chanted on sacred occasions ; and devised 
such pretended revelations as were calculated to impress the mul- 
titude with reverence and awe. 

Many of the Druids appear to have lived in fraternities, near 
the temple which they served; thus resembling, in one habit of 
familiar life, the monastic churchmen of succeeding ages. It is 
probable that they preserved celibacy ; but it is believed that they 
were not on that account, entirely deprived of female society. 
The softer sex, ever conspicuous for a tender zeal of piety, 
claimed a participation in the honours of the priesthood ; and they 
were found useful auxiliaries in the pageants of superstitious de- 
votion. These druidcsses are said to have been also divided into 
three classes, and those of the upper order were much esteemed 
by the people, for their pretended skill in divination and pro- 
phecy. Their numbers were considerable, and their zeal un- 
bounded. It will be recollected that when Suetonius invaded the 
Isle of Anglesey, numerous bands of these consecrated females 
were seen hurrying along the ranks of the British army, bearing 


• Bard braynt, DerwyJd, and Ovyid. See Beauties for Wales. (Vol. 
XVTI.) p. 35. — It must be noticed that, in the opinion of many Welsh anti- 
quaries, the Draidical or Bardic sjsteni, consisted of classes whose duties 
they thus appropriate : the Bard proper attended to philosophy and poetry; 
the Druid was the minister of religion ; and the Ovate was the mechanic and 
artist. See a dissertation on the Bardic system and institutions, in the intro- 
duction to Owen's Translations of the Elegies of Llywsrch Hen. 


flaming torches iu their hands, and with wild gestures and dis- 
hevelled hair, imprecating the wrath of heaven on the sacrile- 
gious foe. 

Very little is known concerning the secret doctrines and fun- 
damental principles of Druidism. The common policy of those 
who endeavour to subjugate the human mind hy superstitious 
practices, throws a veil of mystical obscurity over the engines of 
the base attempt; and the Druids adopted a method of secrecy 
most perniciously effectual, by religiously prohibiting the use of 
letters amongst their association. From the few remarks con- 
tained in Roman and Greek writers who have treated on this 
subject, it is evident that they taught the doctrine of the immor- 
tality of the soul ; but, according to Caesar and Diodorus, they 
publicly instilled the notion of the transmigration of the spirit 
into other bodies. 

It is not improbable that the Druids secretly cherished a pure 
and simple belief in the existence of one God, the great Creator 
of themselves and all around, above, and beneath them ; but as 
the emoluments of their brotherhood were derived from the blind 
veueration of bigotry, they raised a long train of phantasies for 
the delusion and amusement of the human imagination. Under 
their influence, the Briton was induced to worship the sun, the 
moon, and the minor luminaries of the heavens; streams were 
deified by them, and honoured with devotional rites; warlike 
Princes were exalted after death to the rank of gods. 

In a religious system calculated to stimulate and render pro- 
fitable the mundane hopes and fears of mankind, offerings, sacri- 
fices, and the practices of augury and divination, would necessarily 
form primary objects of attention; and the want of simplicity in 
the mode of faith would, as naturally, be attended with a studied 
solemnity of ceremonials. — The Druids held it unlawful to adore 
the Gods within walls and under roofs. Their places of wor- 
ship were invariably in the open air, and covered only by the 
canopy of the heavens. Here they formed huge temples, (if such : 
a term may be bestowed on their religious structures,) consibting 



©f ranges of unhewn stone, wliich enclosed a circular area. To 
increase the solemn effect of the scene, by conducting the devotee 
to the vicinity of the altar through mysterious gloom and deep 
tranquillity, their stupendous temples were usually surrounded 
with thick groves of oak J and even the majestic trees of which 
these groves were composed, were consecrated by draidical super- 
stition, and associated with the attributes of divinity. When the 
priests performed religious ceremonies, they wore garlands of oak- 
leaves. The misletoe which grew on these sacred trees was re- 
garded with particular reverence, and was gathered for religion* 
purposes with much pomp and ceremony. Ou this important oc- 
casion, as we are told by Pliny, one of the Druids, clothed in 
white, ascended the tree, and with a knife of gold cut the pre- 
cious branch, which was received into a sagum of pure white. 
Sacrifices and a banquet concluded the festival. 

The wild and gloomy spot of druidical worship was sometimes 
surrounded by a ditch and a vallum of earth ; and was often chosen 
on an eminence, as such a situation allowed a free view of the 
heavenly bodies. It is probable that religions ceremonies were 
performed daily in these sacred recesses; and it is known that 
the Druids held certain fixed festivals. The sixth day of every 
moon (from which day the Britons dated the commencement of 
the lunar month,) was appropriated to devotion ; and several an« 
nual festivals were observed with great solemnity. On all occa- 
sions of public danger, or triumph, the rude grandeur uf this 
captivating but perverse religion, was exerted to its greatest pos- 
sible extent. 

Frequent sacrifices formed an essential part of the Druidical 
superstition. The living creatures sacrificed to the gods by these 
priests, were sometimes entirely consumed by fire upon the altar; 
but more frequently a portion only was thus offered in oblatiou, 
and the remainder was divided between the officiating Druid, and 
the person who presented the sacrifice. Unhappily the victims 
were not always of a kind which allowed of such an innoxious 
participation. In the early stages of heathenism, most nations 



are foand guilty of a species of barbarity, which can proceed <mtf 
from a mistaken notion of the temper of the Deity, formed on the 
scale of human feelings, by the worst and most tyrannous of man- 
kind. Nations, famed in the progress of their history for polite- 
ness and humanity, have, at an early period, endeavoured to ren- 
der propitious the gods of their own fabrication, by staining their 
altars with votive human blood ; and this excess of cruelty was 
practised with religious fervour by the British Druids. It is said 
that ofifenders against the law were usually chosen for this hor* 
rid purpose ; but it appears that, if criminals were not at hand, 
such of the innocent as were abject and unfriended, were sacri> 
ficed without scruple. A recollection of this practice is desirable, 
as it is connected with those vestiges of Druidical antiquity which 
will be briefly noticed in an ensuing page ; bnt for a detailed ac- 
count of the sanguinary custom, I willingly refer the reader to 
the regular historians of Druidism, or to the sources whence they 
chiefly acquire intelligence, the writings of Pliny, Caesar, Strabo, 
and Diodorus Siculus. 

Owing to the deep secrecy of their consultations, and their 
prohibition of the use of letters, it is quite impossible to prove, at 
present, the extent or varieties of intelligence possessed by the 
British Druids; but the Roman and Greek writers bear ample 
testimony to their knowledge and erudition. Their private schools 
formed a kind of university for the youtli of Gaul. Their skill in 
astronomy and natural philosophy is admitted by the most polish* 
ed of contemporary writers; and it is said that their systems in 
various branches of learning were of so complex, if not profound 
a nature, that a student would employ twenty years in obtaining 
a complete knowledge of them.*' 


• The Theological doctrines of the Druids, together with tlieir systems of 
morals and philosophy, a^d other lessons in art and science, were delivered* 
in a multitude of verses, which it must needs take a long time to impress ou 
the memory of the learner. Some relics of these have been supposed to exist 
in the Historical Triads, published in the Welsh Archaiology.— Clad inrube« 



To pass unuoticed the proficiency \rbich tliey are believed to 
have attained in Astronomy, Geography, Geometry, and Meta- 
physics, it may be observed, that their skill in mechanics is evi- 
deut from those stupendous vestiges of their religious structures, 
which remain to the present day, subjects of admiration with the 
most ingenious. 

That they were acquainted with the science of legislation has 
been already mentioned ; but we have few opportunities of ascer- 
taining their talents in this important branch of knowledge. As 
the laws of the Britons were not written, but were formed into 
verses, and preserved by the Druids, all who endeavour to pre- 
sent a view of them are compelled to call largely upon the aid 
of probable conjecture. 

We may, however, notwithstanding the probable amalgama- 
tion of the customs of the Britons, with those of invading nations, 
still discover some distinct points in the modern doctrines of our 
English law, which, from their great affinity and resemblance to 
the Druidical tenets and discipline, are fairly referable to a Bri- 
tish original. Among these may be first mentioned, the very 
notion of an oralj unwritten law, such as is, in its elementary 
principles, the common law of England, containing the grand 
fundamental rules of our legal polity; whicb being delivered from 
age to age, by custom and tradition merely, would appear to be 
primarily derived from the practice of the Druids. 

A less equivocal remain of the British institutions, is to be 
found in the partible quality of lands, by the custom of Gavel* 
kind, which still obtains in many parts of England, and was the 
universal course of descent in Wales, until the reign of Henry 
the Eighth. 

To these, likewise, may be added the ancient division of tbe 
goods of an intestate between his widow and children, or next 


of white, aud mounted on a slight eminence, the Droids probably poured 
forth such verses, while instructing crowded congregationi of Britons in the 
Catifitfid teneU of their religion. 


of kin; which has been revived by the statute of distribu' 

The teDure of lands in Gavelkind, the most important of the 
British legal remains, exists principally in the county of Kent, 
although it is to be found in certain portions of many ot!icr coun- 
ties; and was probably, in ancient times, the general custom of 
the realm.* The principal distinguishiug properties of this 
tenure are, that the tenant is of age sufficient to aiiene his estate 
by feoffment at fifteen ;t that the estate does not escheat in case 
of attainder and execution for felony, according to an ancient 
maxim " the father to the bough, the son to the plou<;h ;"♦ and 
(which is by far the most important deviation from the general 
rule of modern law,) that the lands descend not to any one son 
only, by right of primogeniture or otherwise, but to all the sons 
together; a course of descent formerly the most usual through- 
out the whole of England, varied only by the customs of particu- 
lar districts. 

The state of the useful arts amongst the varisus British tribes, 
together with their commerce, customs in war, zxiAfamiliar habits, 
before the interference of the Romans, are necessarily subjects of 
curiosity and interest. 

In presenting remarks on these topics, it would be desirable to 
distinguish, in every particular, between the primeval Celtic in- 
habitants, and the more recent migrators from Gaol, the Belgse. 
But, even if such a minute discrimination were attainable, it is 
probable that many variations of custom to be noticed between 
these settlers in Britain at dissimilar periods, were inconsequen- 
tial in the history of human manners, as they proceeded chiefly, 
or entirely, from the effects of different stages of civilization on 
people who entertained the same national opinions. § The great 


» Blackstone's Coram. Vol. II. p. 84. Seld. Analect. 1. 2. c. 7. 
t Ibid.— Lamb. Peramb. 614. $ Ibid.— Lamb. 634. 

I In support of such a remark, it roaj be observed that Mr. Whitaker, 
after a nature cout^deration of the accounts tramoiitted by ancient writers. 



circular temple of the primeval iohabitauts was consistent with 
the fundamental religious principles of the Belgae, and was 
adopted by them, as is believed, with no other alteration than 
such as regarded artificial improvement. Caesar, although he 
notices the superior civility of the Belgae, states no distinction 
between their religion, or political constitution, and those of the 
inland Celtic tribes. Succeeding ancient writers usually describe 
the various petty nations, whether Celtic or Belgic, under the 
general name of Britons. 

Viewed in this light, as tribes possessing the same forms of re- 
ligion and of government, but dissimilar in their respective stages 
of progress towards refinement, we shall find that the Belgae in- 
troduced to this island some arts calculated to afford them a 
marked pre-eminence in commercial pursuit and personal comfort. 
But, whilst admitting the superior polish of the Belgae, and their 
greater k?iowledge of arts, both useful and ornamental, we must 
not, with a hasty boldness of contrast, suppose that the primeval 
and inland tribes were quite ignorant of the arts which render life 

D decent, 

thus delivers Iiis opinion concerning tlie probable similarity of national fea- 
tures between the Celtae and the BelgiB : " Nor was the difference great in 
itself, betwixt the Britons and the Belg®. They both consttucted their edi- 
fices in the same manner, used the same stated pieces of birass or iron bullion 
for money, had the same fondness for keeping poultry and hares about their 
houses, and the same aversion to seeing them upon their tables. And they 
both painted their bodies, both threw off their cloaths in the hour of battle, 
both suffered the hair of their head to grow to a great length, both shaved all 
but the upper lip, both had wives in common, and both prosecuted their wars 
on the same principles. In all these particulars, tiie great aud principal 
strokes of the national character, the Belgic and Britons imirersally agreed. 
Several of the latter likewise concurred with the former, in their attention to 
agriculture, and in wearing garments of woollen. And the only distinction 
betwixt them was one, which was no difference of manners at all; that the 
Britons, being dislodged from that side of the island which was immediately 
contiguous to Gaul and Spain, and the only part of it which was visited by 
the foreign traders, were no longer able to pursue the commerce which they 
had previously carried on, and were obliged to resign it up to the BelgaB." 
Stuuine Hist, of the Britons asserted, p. 84 — 35. 


decent, or were destitute of a system of commercial interchange, 
calculated to enhance the value of their natural possessions. 
Trackways, remote from the utmost frontier of Belgic encroach- 
ment, penetrated the inland recesses of Britain through the terri- 
tories of all her tribes; and that the Celtae possessed a foreign 
commerce, however limited, is well known. 

Tiie great characteristical line of distinction, between the first 
settlers in Britain and Ihose of a more recent date, consisted, 
according to the account transmitted by Caesar, in the practice 
of agriculture ; which was introduced to Britain by the Belgse, 
and was successfully cultivated by that people in their portions 
of tiie island. This useful art (the adoption of which, assuredly, 
constitutes an important era in the rise of civilization) would ap- 
pear, from the commentary of Csesar, to have been chiefly con- 
fined to the south-western coast, and, consequently, to districts 
inhabited by Belgic Britons. The inland, or Celtic tribes, ac* 
cording to that commentary, despised agriculture, but were ac- 
tively engaged in pasturage; through the exercise of which art 
they supported themselves, using chiefly as food, milk, and the 
produce of their numerous cattle. 

With agriculture, the source of national wealth, and thence of 
growing refinement in manners, it appears that the Belg« intro- 
duced to our island a manufacture, essential to the comfort of man 
in a rude state, and of primary importance as he ascends in the 
scale of civilization. This was the manufacture of woollen cloth^ 
which has since proved of so much importance to this country, as 
to have been emphatically styled the "source of all its riches, 
and the basis of all its power." At the era of Caesar's invasioo,, 
the common use of garments, composed of manufactured wool, 
was confined to the Belgic Britons. But a mode of dress, at 
once eminently productive of comfort and comparative elegance. 
Wis not likely to be restricted for ages to any particular tribes j 
and it does, in fact, appear that the Celtic chieftains had adopted, 
the use of woollen vestures, when they first became known to the 



Such an usage was, however, limited to chieftains, and other 
persons of power and distinction. Caeaar, speaking in general 
terms, describes the Britons in the interior parts (the Cfclta;) as 
being clothed " in the hides of animals ;" the first and most na- 
tural resource of man, when attempting to defend himself against 
the inclemency, or vicissitudes of the seasons. 

Such appear to be the most important points in which the 
Celtae and Belgae were dissimilar. The towns of both pos- 
sessed the same rude character; and we are not informed of 
any marked difference between their scattered habitations, whe- 
ther adapted to the chieftain, the agriculturist, or the pastoral 

In presenting a view of the manners and customs of the popu- 
lation of Britain, when the island was first invaded by the Ro* 
mans, mucli, therefore, must be of general application. Where a 
peculiarity is traced to a particular people, it will be carefully 
noticed in the following pages. 

That the Britons possessed numerous towns is shewn by our 
map of ancient Britain, and the explanation of its contents. 
These, however, were of a very rude character, and were used 
only as places of retreat in times of war and danger. It is said, 
by Caesar, that " what the Britons call a town, is a tract of 
•woody country, surrounded by a mound and ditch, for the se- 
curity of themselves and their cattle against the incursions of 
their enemies." 

But the account transmitted by that writer is far from con- 
'veying a just notion of the whole of the British towns, or forti- 
■fied places. Many of these retreats were constructed on the brow 
of a promontory, when the character of country afforded such a 
natural advantage. The distinguishing marks of the British 
town, whether placed in the lowlands, and protected by mo- 
rasses and prostrate trees ; or situated on a lofty elevation, and 
defended by rude ditches or banks ; will be noticed at greater 
length, in the pages which treat of existing traces of British an- 

D2 The 


The domestic buildings of the BritoQs demand but little ob' 
servation. We may readily suppose that some of the rudest 
settlers in this country, in the early stages of their residence, 
secured tliemselves from the frequent changes, and casual seve- 
rity of the climate, in excavated recesses. But. such savage and 
gloomy retreats would chiefly be used by nrankind while depending- 
for sustenance on the spoils of the chace, and contented with 
imitating, in a mild season, the leafy den of the beast of the tliicket. 
Ciesar describes theeountrj of theBelgic Britons, at the date of hi? 
invasion, as being well-provided with houses, which resembled 
those of Gaul. They were, therefore, of a circular shape, and 
composed of wood, witii a high tapering roof, having an aperture 
at the top for the emission of smoke. From the testimony of 
other writers, it would appear that the habitations of the Celtic 
tribes were nearly of a similar description. The round, or oblong 
ground-form, with a conical roofing, is, indeed, the character of 
building almost invariable with the early stages of society ; and 
evidently proceeds from the rude, but natural, practice of enclosing 
an area with tal! erect limbs of timber, iuclimng at the summit 
towards a common centre. In the pages which treat caiicerning 
vestiges of the ancient Britons, it will be shewn that some relics 
are still remaining, which are believed to exhibit foundations of 
their dwellings ; and which, if admitted as such, will evince that 
some of their habitations, though simple, and of small dimensions, 
were designed for durability. 

A correct idea of the comforts which the Britons were enabled 
to assemble round them in their rude habitations, can be gained 
only from an examination of their progress in the arts, and their 
commercial opportunities. 

That there was a period at which the inhabitants of Britain 
were ignorant of the art of working metals, would appear to be 
evident from the numerous instruments, formed of stone and flint, 
'Hhich have been found in many parts of the island.* This igno- 

' Sw many "f tlu'<e discorerles noiicetl in ihe Beauties for Wiltihirc, via,i» 
tlic Miiitle, B.iHKous. 


ranee is common to every nation in the first stage of society; 
but the Britons speedily discovered the mineral treasures which 
lay plentifully embosomed in various districts of their country, 
and they progressively acquired the talent of refining and ren- 
dering a portion of them amenable to use. Tin, long esteemed 
the most valuable (iroduction of this island, was exported by the 
Celtic Britons, through many ages antecedent to the encroach- 
ments of the Belgse. 

The discovery of this valuable metal, induced the visits of 
foreign merchants, and led to a series of commercial interchanges 
highly important in the annals of early Britain. The first na- 
tion which opened a trade with the inhabitants of this island, 
was, undoubtedly, the Phoenician. That enterprising people, 
the founders of navigation, and of extensive commerce, are sup- 
posed to have commenced a trade with Britain, about 500 years 
before the Christian era. Tin was the first great article of British 
exportation ; and this metal the Phoenicians procured in large 
quantities from the Scilly islands, then dettominated the Cassi- 

The Phoenicians erjoyed an exclusive trade with this country, 
for nearly three centuries;* when they reluctantly admitted the 
Greeks to a participation in their advantageous traffic. From 
such a competition of purchasers, the Britons derived consider- 
able benefit; and the great mart for the arrangement of exports 
and imports, was removed from the obscure Cassiterides, and 
fixed, as some believe, in the isle of Wiaht.f 

We have not any direct aulhoritie* for ascertaining the nature 
of the articles given in exchange for their tin, by the Phoenicians, 
to the first Celtic traders of Britain. A conjecture may, how- 
ever, be drawn from the state of the foreign trade cultivated by 

D 3 the 

* See some notice of the connexion between the Britons and Phoenicians, 
intlie Beauties for Devonshire, p. 38; and for Cornwall, p. 338 — 339. 

f An examination of different opinions, as to whether ihe Isle of Wight is 
really the Jet is of Diodorus Siculns, and was, consequently, the great Bntisi) 
mart far tin, is preheated in the Beauties tor Hampshire, p. 332 — 33^ 

8 ^ '3 4 ^ 


the Britons, when the Belgee shared ia the population of the 
island, and at the time of the Roman invasion under Claudius. 
Tin then continued to he the chief article of exportation ; but 
lead, the skins of animals, both wild and tame, together with nu- 
merous other commodities, are mentioned among the exports of 
Britain. The human being, reduced to slavery, and estimated 
merely ns an animal, was also an object of barter. In exchange 
for such articles of traffic, the Britons imported salt, earthen* 
ware, and brass, both wrought, and in bullion. 

It would thus appear that the islanders derived but few addi- 
tions to their comforts from their foreign commerce. It is cer- 
tain that they waited at home for opportunities of barter ; and it 
is quite doubtful whether they possessed barks of sufficient mag- 
nitude for extensive voyages, if they had been actuated by a spi- 
rit of bold commercial enterprise. Such of their vessels as were 
noticed by Caesar, were merely open boats, framed of light tim- 
bers, ribbed with hurdle-work, and lined with hides.* 

Brass, or copper, was the favourite metal with the Britons, 
whether of Celtic or Belgic extraction, as with all ancient na- 
tions in their early ages.f and was entirely imported by them, 
although they understood the art of working it, and constructed 
from it various implements. That their military weapons, swords, 
battle-axes, spears, and arrow-heads, were chiefly formed of cop- 
per or brass, is manifest, from the numerous relics found in dif- 
ferent parts of the island, and preserved in the cabinets of the 
curious. From these it appears that they often mixed an ex- 
traordinary quantity of lead with the primary metal. 

Iron, the most useful of all metals, and that which Nature has 
spread through most regions in the greatest abundance, is still 


• Boat* sinoilar to those described by Caesar, are still used on the rivers of 
Wales, and are denominated Corracles, in English. The Welsh term this 
species of boat, Cwm. See Beauties for Wales, Vol. XVII. p, 8, &c. 

+ For the general use of brass, or copper, in the manufacture of offensive 
arms, amongst the ancients, see Goguct's Origin of Laws, Arts, &c. VoU I. 
p. 157— 159 J an4 Vol. II. p. 266. 


the most difficult of discovery ; aud is reudered forgeable by a 
process peculiarly complicated and tedious. Small quantities of 
this metal were imported from the continent, both by the Celtic 
and Belgic Britons, until a short time before the descent of 
Caesar ; wheu some mines were opened, and worked upon a small 
scale, by the latter people. It is believed that gold and silver 
were not known to be uatural productions of the island, when it 
was first visited by Caesar; but it would appear that these me- 
tals were discovered soon after that period, as Tacitus and Strabo 
mention both amongst the riches which Britain possessed to re- 
ward her conquerors. If not dug and worked in Britain, it is pro- 
bable that these precious metals bad been long imported in small 
quantities from Gaul, either in bullion, or wrought into various 
ornaments. That many ornamental particulars of pure gold 
formed a part of the elevated Briton's personal decorations, is 
evident, irom the discoveries made on opening barrows, or funeral 

The art of the potter is one so necessary and so simple, that it 
can scarcely be supposed unknown to a nation which practised 
pasturage, and used as food the milk of its kine. That the Bri- 
tons were acxjuainted with this art, is proved by vessels found in 
places of burial, and in other earth-works, assuredly British.* 
But the rude character of these specimens shews that they had 
made little progress in refining on the manufacture. They had, 
also, vessels formed of native amber ; but, it would appear, from 
the investigation of funeral deposits, that these were very rare, 
and held in great value. 

From the simplicity of couslruction and arrangement observ- 
able in their houses, it would seem probable that tlie Britons had 
little skill in works appertaining to the carpenter and turner; 
but we shall find that they possessed war-chariots so well con- 
trived and neatly executed, as to obtain the admiration of their 
polished invaders, the Romans. It may readily be supposed 

D 4 that 

• See some specimens of British pottery casnally noticed in the Beauties for 
Wiltshire, p. 229, and 310. 


that the chief efforts of a people continually exposed to internal 
■warfare, would be directed towards the construction of military 
vehicles and implencents ; but, where many tools were possessed, 
and an eiScient mode of using them was well known, il is un- 
likely that the exercise of opportunity and talent should be con- 
fined to one branch of such essential arts. Accordingly, we find on 
several of the coins of Cunobeline, minted between the first and 
second great Roman invasions, the representation of seats, or 
chairs, provided with backs, and mounted on four supporters. 
This circumstance is trivial, and is mentioned only to counteract 
a notion conveyed by some historical writers, under the influence 
of which it might be supposed that the inhabitants of ancient 
Britain, collectively, were in the first stage of savage life, and 
quite unacquainted with the means of domestic accommodation. 
In addition to articles formed of wood, their tables were furnished 
with numerous utensils made of osiers, delicately intertwined. 
In this species of basket work they so greatly excelled, that arti- 
cles manufactured by them, were afterwards exported to Rome, 
where they were much admired, and admitted to the boards of 
the elevated and fashionable. 

Having thus collected such scanty materials as credible his- 
tory afibrds, for a description of the Briton's residence, and for an 
estimate of its probable contents, it is desirable to examine into 
the state of his personal appearance and habiliments. 

The most acceptable of the Roman and Greek writers, concur 
in describing it as a custom of Britain for the inhabitants to 
paint their bodies, although they offer somewhat dissimilar ac- 
counts conceriiing the mode in which this species of decoration 
was practised. Caesar and Pliny mention the Britons <is stain- 
ing (heir skins with one uniform colour, the dye of Glastum, or 
Woad ; and they notice this custom as common to both sexes. 
Other ancient authors describe th^ painting as -being of a more 
artificial character, and as consisting of various figures and de- 
vices, punctured on the skin; the blue stain of the Woad forming 
the ground-lint of this strange tissue of imagery. It is probable 



that both accounts may be reconciled with correctness, and llial 
the great bulk of tlie population used the cheaper uniform colour, 
while the upper orders indulged iu the ostentation of figured 
punctures, either more or less elaborate and varied as might suit 
their temper and finances. 

The existence of this practice evidently implies an original 
necessity, or custom, of exposing the person free from attire. 
But it has been already shewn that such an exposure was no 
longer compulsory, when the island was first visited by the 
Romans, although it appears to have been still practised in time 
of battle.* Both the. Celtic and Belgic tribes were then clothed; 
the former chiefly in skins, and the latter wholly in garments of 
woollen cloth. As cloth is not mentioned amongst the articles 
imported by the Britons, there is confident reason for believing 
that the art of manufacturing it was introduced by the Belgoe. 
The cloths at that time manufactured in Gaul, and probably in 
Britain, were of a coarse and homely texture; but that most ia 
request was composed of wool, dyed in several different colours, 
which being spun into yarn, was woven chequer-wise. Thus fall- 
ing into parti -coloured squares, the fabric bore a close resem- 
blance to the cloth still partially used in the highlands of Scot- 
land, and known by the name of Tartan plaid. 

It has been observed, in a previous page, that the comparative 
luxury of woollen garments was not entirely confined to the 
Belgic tribes, when the island first became known to the Romans. 
The chieftains, and other distinguished persons among the Celtse, 
appear to have relinquished the rude garbs of their ancestors, and 
to have adopted a more comfortable and more ornamental specieti 
of attire. Their improved mode of dress is thus described by the 
lively pen of Mr. Whitaker;-] and as the description is, in many 


• It is observed bj Mr. Whitaker, that the biglilaiulcrs have " retained 
this practice, in part, to the present times ; as late as the battle of Killi- 
cranky, throwing off their plaids and short coats, and fighting in their shirts." 
Hist, of Manchester, Vol. T. p. 300, 

t Hist, of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 300—30?. 


leading particulars^ supported by the testimony of ancient inrriters, 
it may be perused as a curious delineation of ancient costume, 
founded on credible hints of intelligence, but enlarged with a con- 
siderable license of comparison aud probable conjecture. 

" The trunk of the body was covered with a jacket, which the 
Britons called a Cota, and we denominate a waistcoat. It was 
plaided, and open before ; had long sleeves extending to the hands; 
and reached itself to the middle. And below this began the 
trowsers, which were called Braccae, Brages, or Breeches, by 
the Britons, wrapped loosely round the thighs and legs, and ter- 
minated at the ancles. These also were plaided, as their uame 
intimates; Brae signifying a parti-coloured object, and the upper 
garment of the highlanders being therefore denominated Breac, 
and Breacan, to this day. 

" Over these was a looser garment, denominated, formerly, by 
the Gauls a sack, and by the Irish, lately, a mantle. This was 
equally plaided, and was of a thick strong 'contexture. And it 
was fastened upon the body with buttons, and bound round the 
waist with a girdle. The former appear to have been placed one 
upon either shoulder, where the highlanders use a sort of pins at 
present; and are seen distinctly on the coins of several British 
monarchs. The latter, which is frequently used to this day by 
the highlanders, also appears upon British coins, and seems to 
have been particularly ornamented, as in the Roman triumph 
over Caractacus his phalerae made a part of the splendid shew. 

" Round the neck was a large chain, which hung down upon 
the breast ; and on the middle, or second finger of both hands 
vas a ring. The ornamental chains of Caractacus were exhibit- 
ed with his phalerse in the procession at Rome. And both were 
made of gold among the chiefs, and of iron among their followers. 
They had shoes upon their feet, which were the same, assuredly, 
with the buskins that were used within those five centuries in 
Wales, and with the light flat brogues, that are worn to this day 
by some of the Irish and highlauders ; and, like them, were made 
of a raw row-hidf, that had the hair turned outwards. And they 



wore round bonnets on their heads. This remarkable dress of our 
British ancestors, seeios to l:ave been equally the atlire of the 
men and wotueu among the nobles of Britain."* 

It is difficult to form a just estimate of the nioi'al qualities and 
familiar manners of a people so remote, from the pages of those 
who liave noticed them but briefly ; who visited them as enemies 
or conquerors ; and who pertinaciously affected to consider them, 
whether of Celtic or Bely ic origin, as mere barbarians. They 
are described by the Greek and Roman writers, as being proud 
and vain-ulorious; rash in resolve, and prone to passionate 
bursts of auger. In alleviation of sufh censure, it may be re- 
marked that their pride was blended with patriotism, and tiiat 
their warmth of temper was sustained and rendered respectable 
by an ardent courage, ever ready for action, in support of their 
princes, and in defence of their country. 

The most important circumstance connected with the ceconomy 
of civil life, is a due regulation of the commerce between the 
sexes. M^ny writers have presented rather minute descriptions 
of the marriage ceremonials of the Britons, and of the engage- 
ments entered into by the parties concerned. But their accounts 
rest entirely on a presumed analogy of manners between the 
ancient Germans and the Britousj on the poems of Ossian; and 
on the laws of Howel Dha. It is obvious, that conjecture is here 
allowed loo large a scope for the purposes of legitimate history, 
Julius CsDsar affords the first acceptable authority on the sub- 
ject, and he writes to the following effect: " Ten or twelve per- 
sons, who arc commonly near relations, as fathers, sous, and 
brothers, all have their wives in common. But the children are 
presumed to belong to the man to whom the mother was mar- 

• The dress of the British Princess, Bnadicia, is described by Dio, as "a 
tunick of various colours, long and plaited, over which she had a large and 
thicii mantle. This was her common dress, which she wore at all :imts."— 
Many articles of personal ornament amongst the Britons are noticed iii future 
pages, under the subject of Barrows, Cairiis, and Funeral Rcliquts. 


ried.*** This assertiou is corroborated by the testimony of Dio, 
and other ancient writers. 

A statement so unfavourable to the morals of our ancestors, has 
naturally been treated with scepticism by many authors. Dr. 
Henry, one of the most respectable of those who hesitate in re- 
ceiving as correct the accounts transmitted by the ancients, ob' 
serves "that it is very probable Caesar, Dio, and others, were de- 
ceived Ity appearances, and were led to entertain this opinion of 
the promiscuous interconrse of the sexes among the Britons, by 
noticing the promiscuous manner in which they lived, and parti- 
cularly in which they slept. The houses of the Britons were 
not, like ours at present, or those of the Romans in those times, 
divided into several distinct apartments; but consisted of one 
large circular room, or hall, with a fire in the middle, around 
which the whole family and visitants, men, women, and chil- 
dren, slept on the floor, in one continued bed of straw or rushes. 
This excited unfavourable suspicions in the minds of strangers, 
accustomed to a mure decent manner of living; but these sus- 
picious were probably without foundation. For the ancient Ger- 
mans, who were in many respects extremely like the ancient 
Britons, and lived in the same crowded and promiscuous manner, 
were remarkable for their chastity and conjugal fidelity. "f 

An argument in favour of the connubial good morals of the 
Britons, has, likewise, been drawn from the poems of Ossian; 
but the examiner will, perhaps, look with more consideration on 
the instance of Queen Cartismandua, who incurred the universal 
indignation of the Brigantes, for her inconstancy to her husband, 
and preference of her armour-bearer. J But, still, these argu- 
ments are far from conclusive, when opposed by the positive as- 
sertion of so judicious an investigator as Caesar. In regard to 
Cartismandua, it may be readily supposed that an unusual re- 

• Caesar, «le Bel. Gal. 1. 5. c. 14. 

+ Henry's Hist, of England. Vol. II. p. 304—305. 

} Vide Tacit. Hist. 1. 3. c. 4.5. 


serve was expected in the person of a queen, and titat the popular 
indignation was heightened by. the alien meanness of her com- 
panion in guiit. Although it has been found impossible to exone- 
rate entirely the character of the Britons from this degrading 
imputation, we may easily imagine that a custom so offensive 
to the simplicity of nature, was not held in universal practice. 
Genuine delicacy would, perforce, find its way to some bosoms ; 
admiration and esteem would individuate affection, even amongst 
the half-civilized; and paternal love, one of the deepest and 
noblest feelings of the human breast, would prohibit the indul- 
gence of an intercourse so grossly promiscuous, amongst the more 
respectable classes of society. ^ 

Thus, even if the Druidical laws sanctioned a disgusting licen- 
tiousness of manners, we may suppose Ihat only families of little 
consideration and repute took full advantage of the freedom al- 
lowed. It will be remembered that the laws of the Koran per- 
mit a mussulman to have a plurality of wives, and as many con- 
cubines as his fortune wiil maintain; but only a comparative few, 
branded with ill-fame for libertinism^ seek gratiticalion from the 

The art in which the Britons chie6y excelled, was that of war. 
The division of their country into numerous small principalities, 
produced continual struggles, which rendered a skill in the 
science of defence aud attack, not only desirable but of vital 
necessity. Tiiey were, accordingly, trained to t!ie practice of 
arms from the first dawn of adolescence; and the priests, who 
held so potent a tyranny over their feelings and understanding, 
encouraged them to believe that the fearless warrior was the 
character most acceptable to the gods. As the Brifons were 
chiefly viewed when in a warlike attitude by the illustrious au- 
thor, whose commentary forms the ground-work of the history of 
their manners; and as the enquiries of subsequent Roman writers 
were principally (from the complexion of the times) directed to 
the military circumstances of the island ; we are enabled to pre- 
sent a more full and satisfactory pictnre of (he Britoo, when 



armed for battle, than when engaged in civil, and more valuable 

Although there is reason to believe that the population of 
ancient Britain was far from being extensive, yet, as society, 
independent of the priesthood, was confined to two ranks, the 
chieftain and his retainer; and as only few were employed in 
useful arts and manufactures ; the armies poured forth on a pub- 
lic emergency, were unexpectedly strong iti numbers ; for nearly 
all who were capable of bearing arms were liable, and were ready, 
to appear with them in the field. It is evident that the army of 
the ancient Britons was not divided into distinct legions, but 
that each particular clan fought round the person, and under the 
direction of, its immediate chieftain. These chiefs obeyed the 
commands of the king of their petty state ; and, on great occa- 
sions, the assembled kings employed their forces according to 
the will of the Pendragon, or bead of the confederacy. 

The troops consisted of infantry, cavalry, and warriors who 
fought from chariots. 

The infantry, as is usual with the military of most nations, 
formed the chief strength of the array. They possessed no de- 
fensive armour, except small, and generally round, shiehls. Their 
offensive weapons were swords of copper, or brass, long, broad, 
and without points, which were attached to the right side, and 
suspended from a belt or chain, thrown over the left shoulder. 
Round the body was a girdle, sustaining a short dirk or dagger, 
also of copper, or brass. Some bore a spear, armed at the point 
with copper, which was used occasionally as a missile weapon ; 
and others were armed with bows and arrows.* In the use of 
these latter weapons the Belgce appear to have been peculiarly 
expert, as Csesar dwells with emphasis on the annoyance which 


• To this list of weapons used by the ancient British infantry, may be 
added the battle-axe, if indeed those instruments so frequently found in dif- 
ferent parts of the island, and termed Ctltt by antiquaries, were intendeA. 
ifix purposes of bustility. 


his troops experienced from the darts of those who opposed his in- 
vasion. At the biitt-eud of the spear was often placed a ball of 
brass, charged with stones, or pieces of metal, and intended to 
startle horses with its noise. The whole of the troops threw 
aside their garments, and disclosed full to the enemy their painted 
bodies, before they entered on action. 

The cavalry were mounted on horses of a diminutive breed, 
but swift in motion, and equally spirited and haniy. If figures 
exhibited on British coins may be received as conclusive evidence, 
the riders were not provided with s.iddles of any description. 
They were armed with shields; swords resembling those of the 
infantry ; and long spears. 

The war-chariots * formed the most remarkable feature in the 
military arrangement of the Britons, and were found, even by 
the firmest phalanx of the Romans, to be vehicles of tremendous 
operation. These were of two kinds, both having two wheels 
and being drawn by two horses. The chariots of the most de- 
structive character were armed with sharp blades, or scythes, 
and hooks ; and were driven furiously upon the ranks of an enemy, 
destroying or maiming all who unsuccessfully endeavoured to in- 
terrupt their progress. 

The war-chariots of the second class contained the chieftains, 


* The ase of inilitary chariots among the Britons appears to have been 
derived from the Gauls ; but the custom was almost entirely laid a^ide on 
the continent, previous to Coesar's invasion of Britain. Mr. Folwhele, how- 
ever, (Hist, of Devon, p. 174—176.) is of opinion that the practice was in- 
troduced to the Gauls by the Britons. Conjecture, rather than proof, is 
chiefly adduced by those who argue either on the side of Mr. Polwhele, or 
with the opposite party. In regard to the construction and character of ihese 
chariots, it may be remarked that Mr. King (Muniraunta Ai.titj. \ot. I. 
Chap. I.) endeavours to degrade them to a level with the little, low, cart, 
or trucki still used in many parts oi Wales. If it be allowed thai he is, in 
some respects, supported by probability, as to the cars used by the ancient 
Britons for purposes of trnfBc, we cannot suppose that the war-cars, which 
alarmed the Roman veterans, were such contemptible carriages. 


and most honourable persons in command^ who cast their darts 
around, while they inspirited the respective troops to energy in 
the fight. The skilful mode in which the British charioteers 
conducted the assault, and managed their horses, is described by 
Caesar, in words to the following effect: "They first drive their 
chariots on all sides, and throw their darts ; often, by the noise 
of the wheels and horses, putting the foremost ranks of the enemy 
iuto disorder. When they have forced their way into the midst 
of the cavalry, they quit their chariots, and fight on foot. Mean- 
while, the drivers retire a little from the combat, and place them- 
selves in reserve, to favour the retreat of the warriors, should 
they be loo much oppressed by the enemy. Thus, in action, they 
perform the part both of nimble cavalry and of stable infantry; 
and by practice they have arrived at such expertness, that in the 
most steep and difficult places they can stop their horses, whea 
at full speed, turn them which way they please, run along the 
pole, rest on the harness, and throw themselves back into their 
chariots with surprising dexterity.'** 

It is allowed by Cxsar, that the most hardy of his veteraA 
troops were disconcerted by this mode of attack ; and, if we may 
rely on the testimony of the same writer, the number of the 
chariots used in war was truly formidable. Caesar asserts that 
no less than four thousand war chariots were retained by Cassi- 
vellaunus, after that prince, hopeless of success in the field, had 
disbanded the remainder of his forces. 

The accounts which have descended to us from their enemies, 
the Romans, aflford sufficient evidence of the personal courage, 
discretion, and skill of tlie British chiefs. They usually chose 
their ground, with great judgment, on the ascent of a hill: and 
profited to the utmost in their operations, by a superior knowledge 
of the country which they defended. In drawing up their troops, 
(as we are informed by Tacitus) they commonly placed the in- 
fantry in tlie centre, in several lines and in distinct corps; each 


« Cssar de Bel. Gal. 1. 4. c. 33. 


division of \*arriors, consisting of the members of one clan, com- 
manded by its chieftain. S . 

These bodies of infantry were so disposed lliat they could with 
ease support and relieve each other, as exigency migiit de- 

The cavalry and chariots were stationed on either side, with 
small detached parlies spreading along the front of the line; 
and this part of the army, rushing forwards on a signal, com- 
menced the action, encouraged by the war-cry of the whole 

Accustomed to a limited theatre of warfare, amidst woodlands 
and morasses, with rival and contiguous tribes, the British com- 
manders evinced a consummate skill in the arts of stratagem 
and surprise. ►! ^ ,) (.'*• ," 

On such arts, indeed, depended their best hope, when they 
were opposed by the veteran legions. Their valour, however 
great, and their tactics, though far from contemptible, were not 
sufficient to enable them to cope in the open field with the supe- 
rior arms and refined discipline of the Romans. 

The hasty and predatory character of the warfare to which 
they had been alone accustomed, likewise precluded a knowledge 
in one essential branch of military science. Tliis was the art of 
fortification ; which they appear to have practised only in the 
instance of the barriers that they constructed around their 
towns, or stationary places of retreat in times of public danger. 

After allowing these deficiencies, even in the dreadful art 
in which they chiefly excelled, it is evident that the Bri- 
tons, collectively, possessed more than the untutored tumul- 
tuary valour ascribed to them by many writers. Tlie skill 
in stratagem and retreat displayed by the Belgic Britona, 
greatly perplexed, if it did not entirely baffle, the illustrious 
CsEsar, one of the most consummate generals of Rome, the vic- 
torious mistress of so many nations. And in after ages ol that 
contest whence we date the commencement of our national 
annals, the arts of the Romans assisted, in no mean degree, the 

E succesft 


ftoccess of their arms over the general po|>ulatioti of Britain. — 
Such a triumpii renders bven subjugation attractive ; but stiR 
it must not be forgotten that, after a struggle of more than four 
centuries, the conqaerorb of tiie continent left a portion of this is* 
land unsubdued, and sacred to- rude but honest and indignant 

It is to be feare<r that fhe above brief sketch of the political 
constitution, the theology, zx*d the customs and manners, of the 
ancient BritouK, will prove inadeqi»ate to the gratification of th» 
curious. But i* would be difficuH to extend an accouut of the in- 
habitants of Britain, at the time of the Roman invasion, to ft 
much greater length, on solid ground. It has been observed by 
Dr. Johnson that " all which is really known of the ancient state 
of this island, is contained in a few pages;" and such appears to 
be indeed the fact, if we adhere to what has been said, deter- 
Uiinately of ancient Britain, by those who wrote from actual ob> 
aervation, or from coatemporaty intelligence. If we were al- 
Itrwed to argoc from analogy, and to ascribe, unreservedly, to the 
Celts and Belgx of Britain, the manners of kindred tribes on the 
continent, a more copiotis detail might be presented without any 
great eSort. But it must ever be dangetons to the interests of 
truth, to apply particular instances from general remarks. 

I might, likewise, have added much to these delineations, 
and have imparted to> them many touches truly attractive, if I 
iHid chosen to lean on the authority of the poems ascribed to 
Ossian. But it would appear that poems, only verbally trans- 
mitted, and known to South Britain through the medium of a 
free translation only, cannot be safely adopted as materials for 
a legitimate history of manner*, unless when they directly agree 
«ilh the assertions of ancient bistoricAl writers; and in snch 
instances tneir te8timol^y, except as to the mere purpose of etu- 
bellishmeiit, must be superfluous. 

Some minor particulars relating to the customs of the ancient 
Britons, will be elicited fron an exarai4iation of their rude, b«t 



venerable remains, which are strewed over the less cultivated 
parts of the islaud, iu impressive abundance. 

To an investigation of these I now proceed ; and direct the 
notice of the reader to those earthy mounds and outlines, which 
mark the site of inha()itation at an earlier period than is recog- 
nised by the pages of British history ; to massy vestiges of 
Druidical rites, which would mock the assaults of time, if un- 
aided by the more destructive agency of the irreverent humaa 
hand; and to the antiquarian labours of those who have removed 
the incumbent load of earth from the Briton's rude cell of se-. 
pulture, and have disclosed the reliques of his form, together 
with the simple, but emphatic, memorials placed beside him in th« 
grave by the fanciful piety of an obsolete superstition. 

British Towns— Vestiges of habitations — Excava- 
tions. — The towns of the Britons contained no buildings that 
were likely to meet the eye of distant posterity. It has been 
already noticed, that, according to Ciesar, these towns consisted 
of mean huts for human inhabitation, and sheds for cattle, which 
were placed in the midst of a thick wood, and fortified by a high 
bank and a ditch. — But although the buildings of the British 
towns were not calculated for long duration, the vallum and 
fosse, where not interrupted by the hand of future settlers, would 
remain as land-marks of former population, through very distant 
ages. Such appear to be those called Ambresbury -hanks, near 
Copped Hall, in Essex, which are thus described by a careful 
investigator: " This intrenchment was formerly in the very heart 
of the forest, and is of an irregular figure, rather longest from 
east to west, and on a gentle declivity to the south-east. It 
contains near twelve acres, and is surrounded by a ditch and high 
hank, much worn down by time; though, where there are angles, 
they are still very bold and high. There are no regular openings, 
like gateways or entrances."* 

£ 2 But 

• Cough's Camden, Edit. 1789. Vol. II. p. 49. 4nd PI. I. fig. 4; and 
Beauties for Esiex, p. 431 — 432. 

i)t ■ INTnODUCTlON. 

But it would appear that the description of a British town, as 
transmitted by Caesar, applies chiefly to the dwellings of such 
tribes a» iiihabittd the lovtlands of Britain. As security was the 
primary object studied by the Britons in constrncling a town, 
we may readily believe that the nations which occupied the more 
mountainous districts of the island, chose the site of their places 
of retreat on the summit of elevations, difficult of access, and 
commanding extensive views. Accordingly, we find in several 
parts of Wales, and in Cornwall,* in Lancashire, Shropshire,! 
Cambridgeshire, t Herefordshire, and other counties of England, 
the remains of castrametations on tall precipitate hill tops, which 
are confidently believed to have been the fastnesses, or towns of 
retreat, constructed by the ancient inhabitants of the island. 

These fastnesses enclose a considerable area, and are of an 
irregular form, the outlines complying with the natural shape of 
the hill on which they are constructed. Where the sides are 
not defended by precipices, they are guarded by several ditches, 
and by ramparts, eitl»cr of earth or of stones, worked without 
the use of mortar. They have sometimes only one, but more 
frequently have two entrances. One of the most important of 
these strong holds may desirably be adduced in this place, as a 
specimen of their prevailing character, since it is situated, ac- 
cording to the remark of Mr. Ring, " on a spot that could not 
but be au object of the utmost attention to the original inhabi- 
tants of those territories, which afterwards were deemed distinctly 
England and Wales, from the very division here formed." Thii» 
is now termed the Herefordshire Beacon, and is reared on the 
summit of one of the highest of the Malvern ridge of hills. The 
area of the caslrametation comprises an irregular oblong, of 175 
feet by 110 feet, and is surrounded by a steep and lofty vallam 


• Beanties for Cornwall, p'. 500 — 501. 

t Beauties for .Shropshire, p. 266 — *67, (and for a more copious notice of 
Hen Dinas, the presumed British fastness in Shropshire, see King's Muni'* 
nieiita, Vol. I.) 

X Beauties for Cambridgeshire, p. ISO — 131* 


ef stones and earth, and by a deep ditch on the outside. Attache 
ed to the principal area, are two outworks, of considerable ex- 
tent, situated lower on the sides of the hill. Each of these en- 
closes a plain, probably intended for the reception of catlle in 
times of exigency and retreat; and both are artificially connected 
by a narrow slip of land, secured by a bank and ditch. The ac- 
clivity of the hill, in its approach towards tiie summit, is guarded 
by several rude, but formidable, banks and ditches.* 

The above description is far from disagreeing with the account 
given of many British fortresses by Tacitus ;f and the whole 
arrangement of the castrametation, at once rude, bold, and cun- 
ning, would appear to be consistent with the character evinced 
by the ancient Britons in politics and in war. While, in general 
eharacteristics, these elevated places of retreat and defence are 
thus attributable to the Britons, it may be observed that there is 
not any other people to whom their first construction can be 
rationally appropriated, although they may, in successive ages, 
have been used by various hostile parties. 

From encampments known to have been constructed by the 
Romans, Saxons, and Danes, it js evident that these vestiges 
do not bear any resemblance to their modes of fortification; and 
thence it may be safely inferred that they were formed only by 
the hands of those who first used the soil, and who, in the rude- 
ness of an early age of military tactics, sought, and found, 
security for their families and their herds, on the loftiest points 
of neighbouring elevations, where nature supplied tlie conscious 
deficiences of art. 

In addition to other arguments for the British original of these 
hill fortresses, it must be observed, tiiat within the area of many 
of them are still remaining theyb'/nrfa/ion* of numerous colls, or 

E 3 places 

• See a more extended notice of this curious fortress, in the Rennlies 
for Herefordshire, p. 597 — 599; and in King's Muuiiuenta Antiqua, 
Vol. I. 

1 Annal. lib. XII. sect. 33. 


places of habitation,* which ure generally circular, or oval, as 
was usual with the dwellings of the Britons. The mere cxist- 
euce of such relics would appear to prove that the fortresses 
"were intended for the regular accommodation of a tribe, com- 
bining both sexes and whole families, rather than for the tempo- 
rary reception and defence of a band of warriors. 

A curious species of earth work, supposed to form a part of 
the vestigia of civil life amongst the ancient Britons, now claim* 
notice. I allude to the subterraneous pits and caverns which are 
found near Guildford, in Surrey ;t at Royston, in Hertford- 
shire ;| near Cray ford, in Kent;§ and many other places. 
These are often descended into by means of a pit, or well, and 
are sometimes entered on a level, through the side of a bill. 
Within, they are of a different magnitude and description, some 
having only one spacious apartment, but tbey are generally 
divided into several rooms. Many writers contend that these 
excavations were made by the Saxons, in imitation of the cusw 
torn of their German ancestors, as described by Tacitus; but 
Mr. King, who has bestowed great labour on the consideration of 
this subject, thus delivers a contrary opinion : " If we consider 
how much superior the other Saxon modes of fortification appear, 
it seems much more reasonable to conclude that they were first 


* See an instance of these remains in the Beauties for Cornwall, p. 50() — 
^01, It may be here obierved, that vestiges of scattered, round, small 
houses, supposed to be British, occur iu several recluse parts cf England 
and Wales. Many of these are found on Dartmoor, in Devonshiie, (See 
Polwliele's Hist, of Devon, p. 142 — ItS; and Lcxuties for Devon, p. 233 

+ Beauties for Surrey, p. 257. 

} Beaiiiics for Herts, p. 191 — 183; where this excavation is supposed to 
have been used as an oratory ; but, Irom its mode of construction, Mr. King, 
ju his Munimeiiia Antiqua, argues that it Mra<> originally formed by the Bri- 
tons, as a hiding place, or as a repository of grain. 

§ Beauties for Kent, p. 53t — 553. — Curious specimens of subterranean 
works, probably designed for similar purposes, likewise occur in Cornwall. 
jS|Ee also Beauties for Essex, p. 484. 


formed by the Britons, in conformity to the most ancient usages 
«f mankind Diodorus Siculua expressly tells us, tiiat the Bri- 
ton* did lay up their corn in subterranean repositories, from 
whence the ancient people used to take a certain portion every 
day, and hariug dried and bruised the grains, made a kind of 
food thereof, for immediate usfe."* 

Whilst we admit the authority of Diodorus Siculus, and con- 
dude that these caverns were subsequently used as repositories 
of corn by the agricultural Britons, it appears probable that they 
were originally constructed as hiding-places in time of war; 
•uch a mode of secretion being almost invariably adopted by all 
nations in the infancy of society, and being, indeed, learned 
from the wild beasts of ptey around them, who evaded the hunter 
by stealing to deep and gloomy caves. 

Thus, the towns, and most durable domestic retreats, of a peo- 
ple in the early rudeness of national manners, are connected with 
stratagems of war, and are illustrative of their proficiency in th« 
art of fortification. In the instances of their towns, we chiefly, 
or entirely, find specimens of British iutreuchmeuts, and other 
military works. Their mode of warfare, until they improved 
their tactics by a communication with the Romans, was of a pre- 
datory and decisive character, that rarely allowed time for th« 
formation of incidental fortified eucatnpmeiits. 

Lines of Boundary, and Roads. — South Britain is in- 
t^sected, in many districts, by extensive lines of ditches and ad- 
jacent embankments, which are interesting subjects of enquiry, 
although they have been rarely favoured with antiquarian inves- 
tigation. Where these are noticed, they are often attributed to 
the Romans or Saxons; but it would appear that they are fre- 
quently ascribed to those successful invaders, in a loose, incon- 
siderate, manner. The great Dyke which formed for many ages 
the line of boundary between England and Wales, is recognised 
iy history, and is known to have been constructed by Offa, King 

E 4 •/ 

* J^ipg's Muniraenta Antiqua, Vol. I. p. 4a. 


of Mercia ; but the dykes and embankments \vhich are not ac- 
knowle(1f2;ed by regular history, and possess no name but llie 
fanciful epithet bestowed by neighbouring villagers, are more 
frequent in tlie less cultivated parts of the island than is gene- 
rally supposed, and may be often ascribed to the ancient Britons, 
on the most secure ground which probable conjecture has to 
offer. — The line of embanked dyke in Wiltshire, termed Bokerly 
ditch, "issues from the site of an extensive British town;"* and 
Grime^s Dyke, in Oxfordshire, is crossed by a Roman road.f 

The most stupendous of these ancient boundary lines, is that 
called Wansdike, which is 80 miles in length, and is still visi- 
ble for more than three parts of that extent. Tiiis deep ditch and 
lofty vallum, are supposed to have formed the line ofdemarka- 
tion between the Belgx and the aboriginal Britons,^ although 
afterwards in part adopted by the Anglo-Saxons. 

It is supposed that some further vestiges of the early Britons, 
connected with durable impressions made on the soil for the pur- 
poses of civil polity, may be found in the traces of ancient Bri- 
tish Roads, or Trackways, still existing. It may certainly 
be inferred, without an unwarrantable freedom of conjecture, that 
the people so familiarly acquainted with the use of chariots, and 
engaged in commercial pursuits, which rendered necessary a cor- 
respondence between the interior parts of the country and the 
coast, could not be destitute of roads, so carefully amended as to 
assume a permanent character. That such indeed existed, and 
x»ere in many instances adopted by the Romans, is uniformly 
admitted by those antiquaries who unite the labours of local in- 
fesligalion with the erudite researches of the etymologist. 

" These 

• Beauties for Wilts, p. 224. 

t Beauties for Oxfordshire, p. 13. See, also, the instance of a ditch, 
".which, towards the middle, has been filled up, for the Icknuld Way to 
pass over it," in the Beauties for Cambridgeshire, p. 139. 

X Vide Beauties for Wilts, p. 718, and Collinsou's lutrodoctlun to the 
History and Antiquities of the county of Somerset. 


' •* These British roads" (to use the words of a writer, who has 
attentively examined the subjects on which he treats,) " are so 
totally distinct from the Roman causeways, which succeeded 
them, that it is surprising so many persons should confound these 
■works of the rude inhabitants of the island, with those perhaps of 
the most enlightened military nation that ever appeared in the 
world; for the British roads were merely driftways, running 
through the woods, or winding on the sides of the hills, and 
made only for their petty commerce of cattle and sl.ives. Un- 
Jike the military labours of their successors, they were hardly 
ever drawn in straight lines ; were not regularly attended by 
tumuli, or barrows ; were never raised; and had a peculiar fea- 
ture, the reason of which is not known, of being divided during 
their course into several branchea, running parallel with the 
bearing of the original road."* To which it may be added, that 
they do not lead to Roman towns, or notice such towns, except 
when placed on the sites of British fortresses. 

The course of the British trackways, according to the investi- 
gations of the judicious antiquary above quoted, are carefully 
marked in our map of ancient Britain ; and such towns of the 
Britons, as are knoum to have stood on those roads, are enume- 
rated in the marginal table of contents, by which the map isac- 
companied.j- It may, however, be desirable to notice briefly, 
ill this place, the presumed course of each known British road, 
or trackway, in relation to the modern political divisions of couh> 
try, and the present names of places. By the indulgence of the 
editor of Richard of Cirencester,! I am enabled to do this in the 


• Hiitory of Hertfordshire, p. 8. (from a communication of the Rev. T. 

t ]n noticing the towns of the Britons, it will be recollected that ninety- 
two of their capital towns are commemorated by historians, but (he names of 
only eiglity-eight have been preserved. 

J Mr. Hatcher, to whom the antiquarian wprld is greatly indebted for Iiis 
excellent edition of the Description of Britain, &c. by Richard of Cirences- 
ter, with " a Commentary on the Itinerary'." 


words of a recent commentary on that work, enlarged, in one 
particular, by the learned contributor of that portion of the com« 

" The Watling Street, or Irish road, consisted of two 
branches, northern and southern. 

" The south-eastern branch of the Watling Street, proceeded 
from Richborough, on the coast of Kent, to Canterbury; and 
from thence, nearly in the line of the present turnpike, towards 
Rochester. It left that city to the right, passed the Medway by 
a ford, and ran almost straight, through Lord Darnley's park, to 
Southfleet. It bent to the left to avoid the marshes near Lon- 
don, continued along a road, now lost, to Holwood Hill, the 
capital of the Rhenii, and then followed the course of the pre- 
sent road to London. — Having crossed the Thames, it ran by 
Edgeware to Verulam ; and from thence, with the present great 
Irish road, through Dunstable and Towcester to Weedon. Hence, 
instead of bending to the left, with the present turnpike, it pro- 
ceeded straight by Dovebridge, High Cross, Fazeley, Wall, and 
Wellington, to Wroxeter. It then passed the Severn, and con- 
tinued by Rowton, Pen y Pont, and Bala, to Tommen y Mawr, 
where it divided into two branches. One ran by Bath-Kelleri 
to Caernarvon and Anglesea; the other by Dulwyddelan, through 
the mountains to the banks of the Mcnai, where it joined the 
north-eastern branch (which will be presently described,) and 
ended at Holy Head, the great port of the Irish. 

*' The north -eastern branch of the Watling Street, coniing 
from the interior of Scotland, by Cramond and Jedburgh, enters 
England at Chew Green, and continues by Riechester to Cor- 
bridge. There, crossing the Tyne, it ran through Ebchester, 
X.anclicster, and Binchester, and passed the Tees by a ford, 
near Pierce Bridge. Hence it went by Catterick, Newton, 
Masham, and Kirby Malside to Ilkley, and near Halifax to 
Manchester. Over the moors, between these two last places, 
it is called the Devil's Causeway. From Manchester, where it 
passed the Mersey, it proceeded by Street* Northwicli, Chester, 



Caerliun, and over the mouutains to Aber, where it fell into tb« 
south-western branch, iu its course to Holy Head. 

" ThelcKNiELD Street, or road of the Iceni, proceeds from 
the coast near Great Yaimouth. Passing through Taesborough, 
it mns by Ickliugiiam and Newmarket, and, skirting the chain of 
hills which strelches through Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, continues by Bourubridge to 
Icoldon and Royston, (where it intersects the Ermyn Street.) 
Thence it proceeds by Baldock, over Wiibury Hill, to Dunstable 
(where it crosses the Watling Street,) Tring, Wendover, Els- 
borough, near Richborough, Chinnor, Wallington, Woodcote, 
and Goring; and, passing the Thames at Slreatly, throws off a 
collateral branch, which will be noticed under the name of the 
Ridgeway. From hence it proceeded, as Stukeley imagined, 
by Aldworth, Newbury Street, Ashmansworth, Tanglcy, and 
Tidworth, to Old Sarum. Thence by the two Stratfords, across 
Vernditch Chase, Woodyates Inn, the Gussages, Badbury, 
Shapwick, Woodhay Castle, Maiden Castle, Eggardon, Ax- 
minster, Honiton, Exeter, Totness, &c. to the Land's End. 

" The collateral branch called the Ridgeway, ran from 
Slreatly along the hills, by Cuckhamsley Hill, Whitehorse Hill, 
and Ashbury, towards Abury ; from whence its course is unknown. 
Possibly it ran towards Glasionbnry. From Elworthy barrows, 
above Taunton, it passes south-westerly into Devonshire ; and 
from Stretton into Cornwall, it kept along the ridge of hills to 
Redruth and the Land's End. 

" Ryknield Street, or street of the Upper Iceni, said to 
begin at the mouth of the Tyne, ran by Chester le Street to Bin- 
chester, where it joined the Walling Street, and continued with 
it to Catterick. Then, bearing more easterly, it ran with th« 
present great northern road to within two miles of Borough 
Bridge, where it left the turnpike to the right, and crossed the 
Eure to Aldborough. From thence it went by Coptgrave, Rib- 
ston, Spofforth, through Stokeld Park, to Thorntr, Medley, 
Foleby, Bolton, Gracsborougb, Holme, Great Brook near Tre- 



town, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Little Chester, Eggiuton, to Bur- 
ton, and Wall, (where it crossed the Wiitling Street.) Thence 
through Sutton Colfield, to Birmingham, King's Norton, Al- 
chester, Bilford, Sedgebarrow, Tewkesbury, Glocester, Berry 
Hill, Herefordshire; and probably by Abergavenny, Brecon, 
Landilo, and Caermarthen to St. David's. 

" The Ermyn Street came from the eastern side of Scot- 
land, and, crossing the Tweed, west of Berwick, ran near 
AVooler, Hedgely, Brumpton, Brinkburn, Netherwitten, Hart- 
burn, and Rial, to Corbridge, where it joined the North Wal- 
ling Street. Passing with that way the two great rivers, the 
Tyne and the Tees, it continued to Catterick, where it divided 
into two branches. 

" The western branch went with the Ryknield Street, as far 
as Aldborough, and then, leaving that way to the right, pro- 
ceeded by Little Ousebourn, to Helensford, over Bramham 
Heath, to Aberford, Castleford, Houghton, Stapleton, Adwick, 
Doncaster, Bawtry, and probably by Tuxford, Southwell, and 
over the Trent to Thorp, (where it passed the Foss) Staunton, 
and Stainby, where it joined the eastern branch. 

" This latter branch ran from Catterick by North Allerton, 
Thirsk, Easingwold, Stamford Bridge, Market Weighton and 
South Cave, and, crossing the Humber, continued by Wintring- 
ham, Lincoln, and Ancaster, lo near Witham, when it was re- 
united with the western branch above mentioned. Both continued 
to Brig Casterton, near Stamford, Chesterton, Stilton, Godman- 
chesler, Royston (where it crossed the Icknield Street,) Bunt- 
ingford, Puckeridge, Ware Park, west of Broxbourn, Chcshunt, 
Enfield, Wood Green, and London. Here it again divided into 
two branches. The more westerly went by Darking, Coldhar- 
bour, Stone Street, and Pulborough to Chichester; while the 
easterly was continued by Bromley, Holwood Hill, Tunbridge 
Wells, Wadhurst, Mayfield, and Eustbourn to Pevensey. 

" IK.EMAN Stkeet, appears to have passed from the eastern 
side of the island, probably by Bedford, Newport Pagnel, Stony 



Stratford, and Buckingham (or, as others think, by Fenny Strat- 
ford and Winsborough,) to Alcester. It then ran by Kirkliug- 
ton, Woodstock, Stonefield, Astall, and Coin St. Alwin's to 
Cirencester, Rodmarton, Cherrington, Bagspath and Symonds* 
Hall. From thence it is said to be continued by Cromehall 
to Aust, where, passing the Severn, it probably ran through 
Caerweut, Caerleon, and along the coast by Caerdiff, Neath, 
and Lwghor, to Caermarthen, and the Irish port at St. David's." 

The Foss Way, although adopted through the whole of its 
course by the Romans, was first, probably, a British road, as it 
forms a connection between so many of the British towns. It 
took its rise on the north eastern coast of Lincolnshire, and ran 
through hindum, Lincoln; Ratoc, Leicester; Benonis, Clay- 
chester ; Corinium, Cirencester ; Aquce Sutis, Bath ; and Ts- 
chalis, Ilchester; to the great British port of Seaton, in Devon- 

" The Upper Salt-way, which appears to have been the 
communication between the sea coast of Lincolnshire, and the 
salt-mines at Droitwich, is first known as leading from the neigh- 
bourhood of Stainsfield, towards Paunton and Denton ; and then 
running not far from Saltby and Croxton, is continued straight 
by Warmby and Grimston, to Sedgehill on the Foss. Here it 
appears to bear towards Barrow, on the Soar; and crossing 
Charnwood Forest, is again seen at Stretton, on the borders of 
Warwickshire, from whence it is easily traced to Birmingham, 
and over the Lickey to Droitwich. 

" The Lower Salt-way is little known, although the parts 
here described have been actually traced. It came from Droit- 
wich, crossed Worcestershire, under the name of the Salt-way, 
appears to have passed the Avon, somewhere below Evesham, 
tended towards the chain of hills above Sudeley Castle, where it 
is still visible, attended by tumuli as it runs by Hawling. 
Thence it proceeds to Northleach, where it crossed the Foss, in 


* MS. coiBinunicatina of lli« Rev. T. Leroaa. 


its way to Coin St Aldwin's, ou the Ikemau Street, and led t» 
tlie sea coast of Hampshire. 

" In many places are vestiges of a continued road skirting the 
western side of the island, in tlie same manner as the Ermya 
Street did the eastern, of which parts were never adopted by th« 
Romans. There is great reason to suppose it British, be«anse it 
•onoects many of the British towns. It appears to have com- 
menced on the coast of Devon, perhaps not far from the mouth of 
the Ex, and to have gone by Exeter, Taunton, Bridgewater, 
Bristol, Gloucester, Kidderminster, Claverley, Weston, High 
Offley, Betley, Middlewich, Northwich, Warrington, Preston, 
and Lancaster. Here probably dividing into two branches, one 
ran by Kendal, Penrith, and Carlisle, to the extreme parts of 
the island, while the other passed, by Kirby Lonsdale and Orton, 
to Kirby Thure, from whence it continued, under the name of 
the Maiden- way, by the wall and Bewcastle, into the interior 
parts of Scotland. 

" Besides these, and the separate communications between 
the different towns, there is reason to imagine that a general 
road ran round the whole coast of the island, parts of which have 
been observed near the southern coast of Dorsetsliire, particularly 
from Abbotsbury to the isle of Purbeck; likewise in Hampshire, 
along Portsduwn Hill; and from Old Winchester through Sus- 
sex, on the tops of the hills between Midhui-st and Chichetiter, 
to Arundel and Brighthelmstone. Also in Essex, from iVIaldon 
to Colchester; and in Suffolk by Stretford, Ipswich, Str'etford, 
and BIythburg, to the banks of the Yar. In Lincolnshire are 
two branches, oi»e running clearly from Tattersal, by Horncas- 
tle, Ludford, Stainton, Caistor, and Somerby ; and a second, 
nearer the coast, from Lowth towards Brocklesby, and both 
lending to the passage of the Humber, not far from Barton. 
Also along the principal part of the coast through Yorkshire, 
Durham, and Northumberland. On the western side of the is- 
bnd,, it appears to have passed on the hills which skirt the 



northern coast of Devonshire and Somersetshire, and possibly 
might be traced through Wales and towards Scotland."* 

British Coins. — The labours of the antiquary are seldom 
more judiciously directed than to the investigation of coins, 
which at once act as the genuine links of history^ and exhibit the 
state of several arts, in the specific nature and the preparation of 
the material, and in the character of the device, and degree of 
skill with which the die is cut and the impress made. 

It would appear, from the testimony of Caesar, and the ab- 
sence of any direct and tangible proof to the contrary, that both 
the aboriginal and Belgic Britons were destitute of minted money, 
at the period of that great commander's invasion of the island.-f 
It is believed that pieces of brass and iron bullion, unstamped^ 
and rated by their weight, were then used as the medium of 


• Commentary on the Itinerary of Richard of Cirencester, Edit. 1809. p. 
IJl— 117. 

t The passage of Caesar, on this subject, is so worded as to admit of « 
doubt, in the opinion of some persons, as to whether the brass money of thft 
Britons was minted, or was mere bullion, valued by weight. Those who 
adopt a reading to the former effect, cannot adduce any corroborative cir- 
cnmstance founded on fact ; and it certainly would appear unlikely that the 
people who were so rude as to use unstamped iron for money, should at thft 
same time be so refined as to submit their brass to the process of the mint- 
master. Dr. Plot, in his natural History of Oxfordslnre ; Dr. Borla<te, ia 
his Antiquities (if Cornwall; and Mr. Polwhele, in his History of Devon/ 
argue for the probability of the Britons |K>ssessing coins, both of gold and 
silver, before the Roman invasiwn, although in parts of the island with which 
Casar had no opportunity of becoming acquainted. But it is obvious that a 
eirculating raonied medium of traffic is seldom conBned to the bounds of one 
particular state, and is the most difficult of all circumstances to hide from the 
knowledge of an interested investigator. It may be remarked that the use 
of unstamped iron for money among the Britons, is not noticed, as an ex- 
isting custom, by any writer subsequent to Cajsar. So rude a practice must 
be supposed likely to discontinue shortly af^er the superior convenience of 
small minted money was ascertained ; and such appears to have been tlic 
fact, if we allow the first British coinage to have taken plac* betw^a. tlu; 
dates of the two Roaaan invasions. 


traflic. Large quantities of the latter, approaching lo a squar* 
shape, and having a hole in the centre, as if for the purpose of 
stringing them for the convenience of the trader, have been found 
in Cornwall, and are supposed to be the iron money of the 

But the era of Casar's Invasion was, in every respect, memo- 
rable to Britain. His expedition led to a more extended corres- 
pondence between the islanders and the inhabitants of the con- 
tinent; and the increase of trade, and expansion of views, de- 
rived from that communication, are evident in the circumstance 
of several mints being speedily erected by the former people; 
the active and commercial Belgae setting the laudable example. 

The chief British coins which have been discovered, and may 
be considered as genuine, were struck during the years which 
intervened between the first invasion under Caesar, and the second 
and more decisive by direction of Claudius. The earliest authen- 
ticated coins, which have been found, are those of Cunobeline,t 
who lived from the reign of Augustus to that of Caligula. It ap- 
pears that shortly after the art was introduced by the Belgae, it 
was eagerly adopted by the principal Celtic sovereigns; and 
several public depositaries, and numerous private antiquarian 
cabinets, contain coins bearing impresses ascribed to various 
British states. 

British coins are usually of gold, silver, and brass. In some, 
the gold is minted without any alloy; but, in most, both the 
gold and silver arc much debased. Some coins attributed to the 
Britons, are devoid of any inscription, and are merely stamped 
with the figures of animals, together with unintelligible devices. 
These were, probably, of the earliest Celtic mintage. But in 


* Speciniens of the perforated iron plates discovered in Cornwall, are en- 
graved in Dr. Borlase's Antiquities of that couiUj, and again in Cough's 
edition of the Britannia. 

i See an " Essay on the coins of Cunobeline," &c. b}' Samuel Peggc A. M» 
in which woik thirty nine of those coins are engraved. 


general they bear on the face a regal bust, with an inscription ; 
and on the reverse an emblematical device, accompanied also by 
a legend. In shape they are round, and sometimes flat, but 
often disked, or concave on one side and convex on the other. 

The costume of the ancient British kings, as to their diadem; 
a portion of attire; and instruments of \var and command; 
is curiously exhibited by their coins. The reverse of those 
which are of the rudest mintage, often presents an indistinct 
mass of small implements, or ornaments, unknown as to real 
Jiame and use. But in the more refined, a mixture of allusions 
to Roman manners is frequently perceptible. On the reverse of 
such, are often seen the Janus, the Sphinx, (the favourite de- 
vice of Augustus,) the Centaur, and the Pegasus, From the 
occurrence of these figures, it is satisfactorily argued, that tfie 
art of minting was introduced to Britain by practitioners from the 
Roman continent. In coutirraation of this opinion it may be ob- 
served, that some of the inscriptions are latinized ; and the Romau 
alphabet is used in the legends of all. 

The coins of Cunobeline, who is supposed to be the first Bri- 
tish sovereign that established a mint, are the most curious, as 
well as the most numerous, that have been discovered ; and have 
consequently attracted the greatest share of antiquarian notice. — 
These coins are of gold, silver, and brass or copper; with au 
alloy of lead or tin. They are all circular, and most have a 
slight convexity of form. 

The style of execution, though far from elegant, is still res- 
pectable. On the obverse of many is seen the head of the king, 
under whose auspices the coins were issued. Others have, on 
the face or obverse, various emblematical devices, as a horse 
(the animal most valued by the Britons, from its useful qualities 
in war, and likewise a symbol of the sun, a Eritish Deity;) the 
two faced Janus, supposed to allude to the increasing civilization 
of the country; a griffin; and an ear of corn. — On the reverse 
part of the same coins is presented a great variety of symbolical 
designs, as a wiuged female figure, supposed to be Victory; a- 

F pegasus; 


pec^asus; horses in various modes of action, and tPitli many af-^ 
lusive accompaniments (that of a hand sustaining a truncheoit 
being one;) Apollo playing on the harpj a hog and a tree; a 
workman coining money, ssveral pieces of which appear on thr 

The legend, or inscription, presents the name of the king^ 
Cunobeline, Tariously spelt and in dissimilar modes of abbrevia- 
'tion, together with the Roman letters CAMV. CAM. (the place 
at which the coin was minted, Camulodunum) VER. (Verula- 
mium;)and NOVANIT. or NO. NOVANE, and NOVA, (sup- 
po»:ed to signify the capital of the Trinovantes.) 

In addition to the above abbreviated words, the British coin*, 
and espeeially those of Cunobeline, often present an inscription 
which has given pise to much antiquarian discussion. This is 
the word TASC, or TASCIO, sometimes written with a varia> 
tion in the last syllable, but uniformly similar in the first, ex- 
cept in one instance, where rt is thus spett, TACIO. 

It is not desirable to enter on an investigation of the respec- 
tive opinions of the diiferent writers, wIm have deemed the pro- 
bable meaning of this word deserving of laborious enquiry. The 
conjectures of two may suffice; the first a professed numismatic 
essayist, and the latter an antiquarian critic of no ordinary attain- 
ments. Mr. Pegge * supposes that the word is the nominal 
designation, either personal or national, of the Roman-gallie 
mint master under whose direction the coins were produced : but 
Mr.Whitaker f observes "that the word occurs too frequently to 
be that of a mere mint master, however honoured;" and he con- 
siders it 'to be nothing more than the British and official appel- 
lation of the king whose coins exhibit the inscription, and to 
signify fm\y the Leader." In pursuit of this idea, he examines 
into the presumed source of the word, and remarks that " Tus, 
Tuis, Tos, and Toschkh mean the beginning, or head, of any 


• Esiay on the coins of Cunobeline, 5c«. 

+ Hist, of Manchester, 2nd. edit Vol. ILp. 7—12. 


tiling, in the Irish language ; and that Txnseach, and Taoiseach, 
are the Irish appellatives for a commander, to this day." From 
the latter word he imagines the Tasc of the British coins to pro- 
ceed. If this mode of explanation be accepted, the Ta^cofth* 
British answers to the Rex of the Latin inscriptions. 

It is quite ' impossible to form, at this period, a satisfactory 
estimate of the quantity of money m circulation, while the privi- 
lege of coining was possessed by the native princes; but, from 
the numerous pieces, of a dissimilar mintage, issued by Cunobe- 
line alone, it is probable that the amount was far from inconsider- 
able. The comparatively small quantity discoverable in subse- 
quent remote ages, is no proof of an original deficiency, as the 
circulation of money issued by British princes was severely 
prohibited by the Romans, after they gained an ascendant in the 

The subject of British coins has been treated with some con- 
tempt, by an able numismatic writer;* and, assuredly, the study 
of them is less captivating than that of the medals of nations 
more brilliant in exploit, and favoured more largely with the 
notice of historians. Still, it is capable of affording rational satis- 
faction to the investigator of statistics, and to the antiquary. — The 
authenticity of the greater number of the coins ascribed to ihe 
Britons is unquestionable. Many have been found among monu- 
ments decidedly British ; and, in legend and symbolical embel- 
lishment, they plainly evince their original. f As evidences of 
the progressive data of the arts among the ancient inhabitants of 
Britain, they are truly valuable; and they are curious, from the 
circumstance of exhibiting, in unequivocal outlines, many parti- 

F 2 culars 

• Mr. Clarke, in a letter to Mr. Bowyer, quoted by Gougli, in a note to Con- 
jectures on British coins, in the Britannia. 

+ Specimens of British coins, exhibiting a great variety of iraprcBslons, artf 
•ngraved in Speed ; in Camden's Britannia (a corrected plate being intra* 
duced in Mr. Cough's edition j) in Borlase's Antiq. of Cornwall; in Mr. 
(afterwards Dr ) Pegge's Essay oo the " coins of Cunobeline," &c. 


culars of tiie costume of a people, whose manners are little kmnrs/ 
and have been too often misrepresented by such superficial histo- 
rians, as have neglected to unite the researches of the antiquary 
with tlie common place task of collating lettered authorities. 

GiRCLES COMPOSED OF Stones.— In several parts of Eng- 
land; in nearly every division of Wales; in Scotland; and in 
many other parts of the British islands; are to be seen circles 
ef unwroiight, upright stones, which are commonly recognised 
under tiie nanve of Druidieal Temples.* These curious vestiges 
of antiquity are usually found on^ spots naturally elevated ; and 
one structure often consists of several circles, either concentric, 
lateral', or in some other mode of disposal indioating an attention 
to mathematical regularity of arrangement. Similar monuments 
with those of Britain, and equally void of appropriation in the 
page of history, are to be seen in Iceland, Norway, Scandinavia, 
and various parts of Germany. In Sweden, Denmark, and the 
Western Isles, circles of stone are also frequent. 

Amongst other arguments for the great antiquity of these 
monuments in Britain, it is observed, that in some instances 
they are crossed and injured by Roman Ways; a proof tliat all 
reverence for the object of their original destination, was lost 
before the construction of those roads. Circles of stone appear, 
indeed, to have been used in the performance of religious and 
judicial ceremonies, by the most remote nations of antiquity;! 


•'Circles of upright stones occur in the foHowing EnglisK c'ountie»: Corn- 
wall (in wliich county. Beauties, p. 387. see tfc« Hiirlen, an exfentive Druidi> 
eal roonunient ;) Cumberland (^Long Meg and her dmughier$, p. 146.) Derby- 
shire ; Devonshire ; Dorsetshire ; Oxfordshire (Rollridi, p. 5(10. et seq.) 
Somersetsliire (Stanton- Drew, p. 629.) Westinortaiid; Wiltshire (the cele- 
Liated works of Ai'tbury and Stonehtugc ) Curious circles of stone are 
ahundanll^v spread througliout both North and South Wales. Relics of the 
Druids, which are trdly interesting, are found in Anglesca, the ancient Mona, 
und the final retreat of the Druidieal priests. 

+ See a dissertation on the liigh antiquity of this usage, MuBitnenta Anti^ 
^ti8. Vol. I. p. 133, ct scq. 


and, under the prevalence of that similarity of manners, whick 
may be traced between nearly all countries in the infancy of 
society, they were probably constructed by the earliest ministers 
of the Druidical religion. That many of the vestiges which are 
still superior to the wear of centuries, and the more destructive 
assaults of human contumely and avarice, were existing in very 
high ages of British antiquity, seems evident from the contents of 
those numerous barrows, which are usually found in the vicinity 
of circles of stone, and which appear to have been placed in 
their proximity from motives of reverence and piety. 

Although the whole of these monuments possess a striking 
simplicity of character, they are yet decidedly different in many 
component particulars, Frequeatly they are surrounded with a 
ditch and a vallum, the latter forming the boundary, or being on 
the outer side. The number of stones is far from being uniform, 
and in some instances is not more than uine. Or. Borlase ob- 
serves, that the greatest number which has reached his notice 
is seventy-seven;* anci he adds, that "the difference in number 
was not owing to chance, but either to some established rules 
observed in the construction of these monuments, or referring to, 
and expressive of, the erudition of those aijes. In some places 
•we find them oftener of the number twelve than of any other num- 
ber; either in honour to the twelve superior deities, or to some 
national custom of twelve persons of authority, meeting there in 
council upon important affairs."t 

The same writer (who has, perhaps, considered the subject 
more attentively than any other antiquary, and who certainly 
ranks among the best authorities for this species of information,) 
thus notices the plans most prevalent among these monuments; 
and, on comparing his account with the statements in the " Beau- 

F 3 ties," 

• To leave unnoticed the stupendous monumcnis of Avebnry and Stone'- 
henge, it may be observed, that the circle ti'niud Giti) Vunds (iioticert iu 
the Beauties for Cumberland, p. 136 — 137.) cpusisis of li^hty-eight »toae»,. 

+ Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 191. 


ties," respecting difTerent stone circles existing in various parts of 
England and Wales, it appears to present a view of their nsual 
peculiarities of character, equally comprehensive and concise: 
" The figure of these monuments is either simple or compounded. 
Of the first kind are exact circles, elliptical or semicircular. The 
construction of these is not always the same, some having their 
circumference marked with large separate stones only; others 
having ridges of small stones intermixed, and sometimes walls, 
serving to render the inclosure more compleat. Other circular 
monuments have their figure more complex and varied, consist- 
ing not only of a circle, but of other distinguishing properties. 
In, or near, the centre of some, stands a stone, taller than the 
rest; in the middle of others is a Kistvaen, whilst a Cromlech 
distinguishes the centre of some circles. Some have only one 
line of stones in their circumference ; and others have two ; some 
circles are adjacent, some contiguous, and some include, and 
some intersect each other. Frequently urns'' (skeletons, and 
pther funeral deposits) " are found in or near them ; and these 
circles are of very different dimensions. Some are curiously 
erected on geometrical plans, the chief entrances facing the car- 
dinal points of the heavens. Some have avenues leading to them, 
placed exactly north and south, with detached stones, sometimes 
in straight lines to the east and west, sometimes triangular: all 
evidences of more than common exactness and design."* 

In ascribing to these various circles their respective objects 
of destination, great room is allowed for the speculations of in- 
genuity ; as it is only by a comparison with the alledged customs 
of other countries, in remote ages, that conjecture is here fornred 
on ground in the least degree satisfactory. That many were in- 
tended for religious ceremonials, and that circles of stone formed, 
indeed, the uniform temples of the Druids (although enveloped 
in masses of oak, all but equally sacred with themselves) is ex- 

• Borl»se'» Anfiq. of Cornwall, p. 19«— 193. This extract of Dr. Bor- 
lase's valuable publication is in tevernl places altered and abridged, to salt 
^e purpi)se of the present work. 


tremely probable, from analogy of manners. Sach appear to 
have been of Patriarchal asage in the very first recorded ages ; 
and, from its mode of construction, this rude, but venerable 
speeies of temple, was, assuredly, well adapted to the tenets of 
the Droids, who maintained, among other opinions indicative of 
much grandeur of conception, that the Gods were not to be confined 
within walls, but were to be worshipped on a spot quite open to 
the heavens, thongh separated from profane interference. In 
confirmation of the very rational conjecture that numerous stony 
circles found in different parts of this island, were used for reli- 
gious purposes, it may be observed that in the area of many are 
disceverable the remains of a Cromlech, or other kind of fabric 
appearing to have served as an altar, although it is by no means 
evident that the circles in which such vestiges are found were 
used for a sepulchral purpose. 

But that circles of stone were exclusively devoted to religious 
uses is quite unlikely, and may, indeed, be denied on a tenable 
foundation. In attention to that comparison of national mannei's 
which is noticed above, it may beobserved that the monuments con- 
structed in a Patriarchal age, and at first dedicated simply to religi- 
ons duties, afterwards became the seats of justice and national coun- 
cil. That a similar union of great solemnities was adopted in re* 
gard to the British temples, will appear highly probable, when 
it is lemembered that the priests were also the legislators of the 
state, and that they sedulously laboured to inculcate a belief of 
the law proceeding immediately from the Deity, through them- 
selves his ministers. The place of council was probably, also* 
that of election and inauguration. 

It may be remarked, that some traces of the custom of judicial 
officers sitting on stones, placed in a circular manner, is noticed 
by Martin in his " Description of the Western Isles ;''* and, 
concerning the election and inauguration of princes in such cir- 

F 4 cles, 

• " In tl)e Holm, as they call it, in Shetland, there are four great stone*, 
«pon which sat the judge, clerk, and other officeri of tlie cour;." Alartiu'* 
devxiption of tlie Western Isle*. 


ides, it is observed by the historian of Cornwall, on the authority 
of Wormius, that " the custom of chusing princes, by nobles, 
standing in a circle upon rocks" (or rather upon stones) " is said 
to have remained among the northern nations till the reign of 
Charles the Fourth, and the Golden Bull, A. D. 1356. Some of 
these nortliern circles have a large stone in the middle ; as the 
monument near Upsal, in Sweden, on which Ericus was made 
King of Sweden, no longer since than the year 1396."* 

If we are content to illustrate the subject of these curious an- 
tiquities by the manners of other countries, we shall find an ap- 
propriation for the leading particulars of many circles which are 
supposed to have been arranged for civil purposes; and on this 
head may be submitted the following remarks : " When assemblies 
for council, judicature, and election, were convened, it was the 
custom either to stand by, or to stand upon, or, thirdly, to sit 
upon, stones placed round a circular area; and each of these dif- 
ferent positions of the body, required a peculiar arrangement of 
the stones. In the first case, whilst any election or decree was 
depending, or any solemn compact to be confirmed, the principal 
persons concerned stood each by his pillar ; and, where a middle 
stone was erected in the circle, there stood the prince, or gene- 
ral elect. This seems to be a very ancient custom, and is spoken 
of, as such, before the Babylonish captivity. 

" ft was also the custom to stand upon stones placed in a cir- 
cular manner, and shaped for that purpose, as so many pedestals 
to elevate the nobles above the level of the rest; consequently, 
such stones (however rude) were of different shape, and are, there- 
fore, carefully to be distinguished from the abovementioned 
columnar stones erect, by the side of which the king and princi- 
pal persons stood, and upon which it cannot be supposed that any 
one ever intended to stand. Where we find stones of this kind 


• Borlase, p. 205. npud Wormius, p. 88,90. Vestiges of the inaugura- 
tion stone are noticed in the Western Isles, by Martin, in Iiis description, &c. 
p. i4l ; and by King, Munimentu Antiqua, Vol. I. p. 147. 


and order, we may pronounce them merely elective, consullory, 
and judicial, as never intended for the rites of worship."* 

Besides the above important purposes, it is supposed that 
many of these circular monuments of stone were adapted to other 
uses, the most estimable of which was the advancement of the 
science of Astronomy. It is well known that the Druids of Bri- 
tain are believed, on the testimony of Caesar, " to have taught 
many things to their scholars concerning the stars, and their 
motion. "f From the frequency with which circles constructed 
by the Druids are placed on elevated and open tracts ; and from 
the circumstance of many being apparently formed on etrical 
plans, it has been rationally conjectured that these sphrical tem- 
ples were often used by the learned priests of the early Britons, 
as theatres of study, and schools in which they imparted astrono- 
mical knowledge, j 

It has been frequently ascertained that interments were made 
within these sacred circles; but that they were not places of or- 
dinary sepulture is evident, as it is unusual to find within them 
the relics of numerous funeral deposits. Persons favoured with 
interment on a spot so sacred, had possibly been dignified minis- 
ters of religion and dispensers of law. 

But circles, probably designed for religious and civil purposes, 
were not uniformly constructed in so laborious a manner as those 
noticed above. It is remarked by Sir R. C. Hoare that many 
earth-works, of a circular form, are dispersed about the downs of 


* Antiq. pf Gornwall, p. 204 — 205. 

^. Cae«ar, De Bel. Gal. lib. VI. sect. J 3. 

t In King's Muninienta Antiqua (p. 139—143) are many remarks on this 
snbject, in the course of which the author strains ingenuity of conjecture to 
so great a length, as to say that there is ground for fairly suspecting that, in 
many instances, the stones of Druidical circles were placed so as to answer 
the purpose of rude astronomical instruments. Mr. Chappie, likewise, con- 
jectures that erections of stone were used by the Dmids for many redned pur- 
poses connected with the science of Astronomy. In Poiuhcle's Devonshire 
are some judicious observations, in reply to the latter wriier. 


Wiltshire^ and chiefly on high and commanding situations. 
" The slightness of the vallum and ditch that surround them, as 
-veil as the smallness of their area, clearly indicate them not to 
have been constructed for any military purpose, but most proba- 
bly for some civil or religious object. In countries abounding 
yi'ith stone, as in Wales and Cornwall, the circle was defined by 
rude upright stones; but on chalk hills, where nature produces 
nothing larger than a flint, or an occasional sarseu-stone, the 
circle is described by a bank and ditch."* 

Such appear to be the most important observations presented 
by authors, wlio have bestowed particular attention on the Bub« 
ject of those mysterious circles which are calculated to excite so 
much curiosty. In regard to the ages in which they were con- 
«tructed, it has been shewn that some are ascertained to have ex- 
isted prior to the Roman ascendancy in this island ; and, from 
the similarity which prevails as to general feature, there is fair 
reason for aupposing that all are to be attributed to the hands of 
the Britons. The occurrence of such monuments in parts of Ger- 
many, in Scandinavia, Norway, &c. perhaps merely shews that 
the people of those countries derived similar usages with the Bri- 
tons, from the same common ancestors. These circles in Britain 
have sometimes been supposed the work of the Danes; but they 
are often seen in districts which the Danes never visited : and it 
is observed by Mr. King f that we might, on as rational grounds, 
suppose the circular monuments in Deumark to be the works of 
the Britons. 

But not any of the above remarks apply, in a satisfactory man- 
ner, to the two most distinguished ruins of structures composed 
p( rude stone. The interesting and far-famed vestiges of the 


• Hist, of Ancient Wilts. PartT. p. 18. 

+ MunimcDta Aiitiqus, VoJ. I. p. 153. — The followiug are the principal 
arorlts con lulted in regard to the above article on circles of upright stones: 
Borlase's Antiq. of Cornwall. Rowlands' Mona Antiqua. Dr. Stukelej't 
xrorks. King's Muninienta Antiqua. Sir R. C> Hoare's Ancient Wiltshire, 
^olirhele's History of DeTonshire. 


•tupendous monuments of Avebury and Stonthenge, have uni- 
formly derided the labours and the fancies of those who have en- 
deavoured to investigate their original^ and to direct the examiner 
to their pristine appropriation. The numerous writers who have 
treated on the subject of these impressive relics, leave it involved 
in a mysterious cloud, that imparts additional solemnity to tiic 
silent gloom in which the monuments are themselves enveloped. 
For a coitipendious statement of various surmises regarding the 
date of their erection, and their intended purpose, I refer the 
reader to the Beauties for Wiltshire;* and confine myself to ob- 
serving that the most judicious writers agree i i referring both 
monuments to the Britons, although probably erected at periods 
widely dissimilar. Their amplitude of proportions, and superior 
dignity of character, suggest the idea of their being intended as 
metropolitan places of assembly, f although the nature of the con- 
vocation is unknown, and lost, probably for ever, in the deep 
shades which have fallen over the more intricate and curious parts 
of the customs and manners of the ancient inhabitants of this isr 

Rocking Stones, and analogous phenomena. — In Corn- 
wall, Devonshire, Wales, and other parts of South Britain, 
abounding in craggy rocks, and in the various rude but grand 
productions of nature incidental to a cjilcareous soil in the neigh- 
bourhood of the ocean, there are found many surprising works 
which appear to hesitate between nature and art, and arc proba- 
bly indebted to both. Whilst investigating such districts, par- 
jticular care is necessary to restrain the imagination, that creative 


• Beauties for Wilts, under tfie articles of Aveborj and Stonehen^e. 

+ Although the population of Britain is de&cribed as being divided info 
numerous tribes, or petty states, one form of religion prevailed amongst all, 
as an establisliment; and it is believed that the ministers of that religion 
were all subject to one arch priest or Druid. The priests appear, alsu, to 
have been the legal arbiters of the country. It seems far from unlikely that 
the whole of the British nations might rssort, for final appeal, both in civij 
and religious cases, to one or more great universal court*. 


faculty which "gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a 
name;" for nature, incumbered, as it would appear, with the 
tumultuary vestiges of some remote convulsion, often assumes 
fantastic and imposing shapes, which an ardent mind, intent on 
the advancement of a favourite hypothesis, may readily shape 
into the delusive rcliques of an unknown idolatry. 

But, although there is reason to apprehend that some anti- 
quaries have been occasionally seduced into misconceptions, by 
the ardour with which they indulged in a chosen pursuit,* it is 
still evident that, in many instances, the curious eccentricities 
of nature were improved, and then rendered instruments of super- 
stition, by the ministers of a long forgotten religion. As there 
is not the slightest reason for believing that such works were 
undertaken either by the Romans, Saxons, or Danes, they may 
be securely attributed to the Britons; but as the use of the Tool 
must have been adopted, it is evident that they were performed 
in the later and more degenerate days of Druidism, when the 
strictness of the law was lost in an increase of meretricious blan- 
dishment and stratagem. 

The most imporlant of these presumed reliques of Druidical 
superstition may be classed under the following appellations : 

The Logan, or Rocking stone ;f by which term is to be 


• See some remarks on this subject in the Beauties for CornwaJl, p. 453, 
509, &c. 

+ These curious stones are to be seen in several parts of Britain. Ex- 
amples accur in the Beauties for Cumberland, p. 180 ; and for Cornwall, 
p. 497—8. 

In Piayfair's Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory, p. S95 — 7, are pre- 
sented some ingenious remarks, intended to shew that the phenomenon of the 
Rocking stone is often, though possibly not always, merely the curious re- 
sult of a natural cause ; and that many of these presumed Druidical works 
are, in fact, " nothing else than stones, which have been subjected to the 
universal law of wastin;^ and decay, in such peculiar circumstances, as nearly 
to bring about an equilibrium of that stable kind, which when slightly dis- 
turbed, re-establishes itself." 



understood a stone, generally of immense bulk and weight, placed 
on so small a centre, and in so exact an equilibrium, that it 
moves to a certain degree with the application of a very small 
power, as the touch of the hand ; but which could not be thrown 
down by any common force. Although these may, in some in- 
stances, have required little assistance from art, it appears that 
much labour has been frequently bestowed to render narrow the 
basis on which the Logan depends, and thereby to produce the 

The Rock-idol is the name bestowed by Dr. Borlase on seve- 
ral craggs of rock, which exhibit such peculiar features of gran- 
deur and singularity, as to have been probably selected for super- 
stitious uses by the priests of the ancient Britons. Among the 
most curious of these may be noticed the Cheese-Wring, which 
is a natural combination of eight rude stones, rising one above 
another to the height of thirty-two feet, and having a very slen- 
der bearing between the third and fourth stones. On the top 
'Were two hollows, or basins, one of which remains. An en- 
graving of this curious pile is presented in the Beauties for Corn- 

Dr. Borlase supposes artificial Rock-basins,f and various 


• Allhov>gh many rocking-stonrs may, perhaps, be entirely the works of 
nature,tliere is litlle room for doubting but that art was employed in completing 
the effect of others. It may be noticed that there are several instances in 
which the tool has evidently been employed on large masses of rock, as if for 
the purpose of producing the Logan, although the work is left incomplete. 

t By the terra Rock-basin is understood the hollow indentations often 
found on the tops of rocks in Cornwall, and sometimes in other districts; and 
which are supposed to have been used by the Druids. In the Beauties for 
Cornwall, the editor of that portion of the work, noticing the excavations de- 
nominated Rock-Basins, at Cam-bri^h HUl, observes that they "exist in such 
numbers, in all situations, a* utterly to exclude the hand of man from the 
great massj and, therefore, to make some natural, though unknown, process 
most probable in all." Vide, Beau;ics for Cornwall, p. 509. But, in the 
Beauties lor Derbyshire, p. 500, a rock -basin is noticed, " which evidenilj 
appears to have been cut with a tool." 


marks of SDperstitious labour, to be discoverable on many other 
curious knolls of rock ; but it is possible that the indentation* 
taken for artificial traces of a mysterious mode of religious wor- 
ship, are often merely the workv of nature. That the deities of 
the Druids might be worshipped under the semblance of rocks 
(the emblems of firmness, durability, and protection) is, how 
ever, quite probable ; as a similar superstition can be traced 
amongst many nations, and as a reverence for the supposed 
sanctity of certain rocks and stones has been evinced, in a faint 
degree, by the Irish and Welsh in ages not very remote.* 

The same antiquarian writer describes another species of stu- 
pendous stone work, which he is disposed tu consider as rock- 
deities of the Britons. These are termed, in Cornwall, Toll- 
men, from the Cornish words Toll, a bole, and Maen, a stone. 
They consist of " a large orbicular stone, supported by two 
stones, between which there is a passage."t The incumbent 
mass is of a prodigious size, and was probably placed on th« 
subjacent rocks by some great natural convulsion, though the 
passage beneath may, perhaps, have been assisted by art, and 
the whole adopted for some use of priestcraft. 

I pass the more quickly o\er these supposed vestiges of a 
rnde superstition, as it is quite impossible to ascertain, with any 
resemblance of precision, their destined use or appropriation. Not 
that tlie conjectures of ingenuity are wanting j but, in this in- 
stance, they impart little interest to the subject on which they 
are employed. The Rocking-stones may have been used in divi- 
nation, or in imposing on the multitude, by an indication of divine- 
assent or repulsion ; and Rock-basins may have been appropri- 
ated to the preservation of lustral water; or to the reception of 
the hlood of victims; or to the retention of libations. But all 


* For more extended rernarks on this subject, see Borlase's Antiq, ofCora- 
wall, p. iro. 

f Borlase's Antiq^ailtes of Cornwall. — See a description of a celebrated and 
very curious Tollmen, in the Beauties for Cornwall, p. 45S— 4. 


these vestiges are as open to the unsatisfactory chimerse of 
fancy, as the hoar which frost spreads over vegetation, or the 
mimic-alps of an autumnal sky; since we are necessarily involved 
in the gloom of entire ignorance, respecting the particular forms 
and rituals of an unlettered superstition, of so very remote an 

Cromlechs.* — The Cromlech is a rode monument, consist* 
ing of several huge upright stones, which act as supporters to a 
stone placed nearly horizontally. The number of upright stones 
is very frequently three ; but by no means determinately so ; and 
is often not less than six. In a few instances the supporters are 
still more numerous. Tlie stone forming the top, or covering, 
is g;enerally of a swelling form ; approaching to convexity ; and is 
almost invariably placed in a position more or less shelving. 
Cromlechs are usually found on spots which are elevated by 
nature ; and are sometimes raised on Carnedds, or hillocks of an 
artificial construction. Two are occasionally united, or nearly 
so; and several may be often seen in the close vicinity of each 
other, and near sepulchral barrows or carnedds. They, likewise, 
occur in the midst, or on the edge, of circles of stones arranged 
by the hand of art. That these are hiefly, if not uniformly, 
monuments of the early Britons is scarcely to be disputed ;f 
and that they were connected with the rituals of the Druidical reli- 
gion would appear to be probable, from the frequency with which 
they occur in the neighbourhood of vestiges which can be ration- 
ally attributed only to the Druids. 


* Many of these curious mouuments ere noticed tu different volumes of 
the Beauties, and particularly in those fur Cornwall, Devonshire, and Wales. 
A Cromlech in Cornwall forms the Vignette to the second volume of the 
Beauties ; and one in Devonshire to the fourth volume. 

^ Mr. Gough has advanced many arguments in support of a notion that 
the Cromlechs of Britain were of Danish workmanship; but it is truly re- 
marked in the Beauties for Cornwall, p. S89 (note) that many of these monu- 
ments exist in the most hidden recesses of th^ Welsh mountains; districts 
which the Danes never penetrated. 


Considerable difFarence of opinion has prevailed, as to the par- 
pose for which Cromlechs were designed. Dr. Borlase, and 
several other writers of much reputation, believe them to have 
been intended as sepulchres; and the former observes "that the 
supporters, as well as covering stone, are no more than the sug- 
gestion of the common universal sense of mankind; which was> 
first, on ever}' side to fence and surround the dead body from the 
violences of weatiicr, and from the rage of enemies ; and, in the 
next place, by the grandeur of its constructiou to do honour to the 
memory of the dead. Our altar-tombs, at this day, are but a more 
diminutive and rej^ular Cromleh/'* When found at the centre, 
or on the border of, a sacred circus, the same writer supposes 
the Cromlech to have " formed the sepulchre of one of the chief 
priests, or druids, who presided in that district; or of soiae 
prince, a favourite of that order." 

While Dr. Borlase is decided in believing these monuments to- 
be sepulchral, he admits it as likely that they afterwards be- 
came the scenes of the "Parentalia, or where divine honours 
vere paid, and sacrifices performed to the manes of the dead ;" 
but he contends that those rites must have been celebrated at some 
distance from the Cromlech, as that monument, from the want 
of sufficient size, and the inclined position of its upper stone, 
could not have been conveniently used for sacrificial fires. 

Mr. King and Mr. Rowlands agree in supposing that Crom- 
lechs, although, perhaps, often connected with the commemora- 
tion of the distinguished dead, were not themselves intended fur 
sepulchres; but rather, in such instances, for altars of oblation. 
In regard to the larger Cromlechs, of which several specimens 
are noticed in the " Beauties," Mr. King suggests a conjectural 
appropriation, which, if not convincing, is assuredly ingenious. 
From the conspicuous site on which they are usually placed, and 
from the readiness with which the (low of blood might be traced 
on a slab of stone, large and sloping as is the covering stone of 


• Aniiq ot Corii'.vull, p. 928. 


these Cromlechs, he supposes that they were the altars on which 
human victims were sacrificed, in dreadful attempts at divina- 

However chimerical such an appropriation of the larger Crom- 
lechs may he deemed by some readers, there appear fair grounds 
for supposing that this species of monument, in general, was in- 
tended for sacrificial, rather than for sepulchral purposes; and 
that tiie Cromlech was strictly an altar.* From the nature of 
its construction, unless very great constituent portions have heen 
removed from every known Cromlech throughout the kingdom, 
it could not aflTord, wiliiin its chest-like interior, protection for 
the deceased human liody, either from the insults of an enemv or 
the inclemency of the weather. The cavity formed by the up- 
right and incumbent stones is, likewise, oftendissimilar in shape; 
and, in the instance of the Cromlech termed Kitt's Cotty House, 
in Kent, is divided, by the position of the middle-upright, into 
the resemblance of two cells, but neither of them sufficiently 
large to receive the body of a man at full length. On the other 
hand, the interior of a well known Cromlech near Dyffrin House, 
in Glamorganshire, is not less than seventeen feet in length, and 
thirteen feet in width. f While the interior is thus unsuited to 
the purpose of secure sepulture, I must think that the incumbent 
slab almost declares its object, and is precisely adapted to the 
solemnization of animal sacrifice. . , 

But that Cromlechs were frequently, though perhaps not uni- 
formly, connected with commemorations in honour of the dead, 
appears highly probable, from their so frequently occurring in 
the immediate neighbourhood of Barrows, or Cairns, evidently 

G funereal ; 

• On a subject entirely open to the eiercise of conjecture, tlie remarks of 
Tradition may not be unworthy of notice. — A Cromlech in the midst of a 
circle of stones, in the Isle of Arran (Scotland) is asserted, by the thinly 
spread and stationary inhabitants of that lonely district, to have been the 
place " on which the ancient inhabitants burnt their sacrifices in the time of 
the heathens." Sec Martin's Description of the Western Isles, p. 880. 
Scautiei fur Soutii Wales, p. 669. 


funereal^ or in some iustauces foriniug, indeed, the apex of such 
tumuli ; and the slautiiig positiou in which the coveriug stoae, 
with very few exceptions, is systematically placed, would appear 
to be well calculated for the slaughter of auimals whose stream- 
iug blood was sacrificed to the shade of the deceased chieftain, 
priest, or warrior. Beneath, or in the close neighbourhood of 
some few Cromlechs, bones have been discovered ; but this doei 
not appear to indicate decidedly that even such Cromlechs were 
raised as funeral nionumenis; since we may readily believe it 
likely that pious hands would place the remains of the priest, 
or of the earnest devotee, near the altar of his faith and religious 

Upright Stones, single or numerous, but not cir- 
cular. — In many parts of England and Wales are found, in an 
erect position, very massy and high stones, either singly or two 
or three together; and, from their unhewn rudeness and solid cha- 
racter, together with the absence of all tradition concerning them, 
many of these are supposed to have been raised by the ancient 
Britons. The custom of commemorating events of distinguished 
importance by similar natural pillars, is ascertained to have ex- 
isted in the very first ages of society ; and is so simple and ob- 
vious a mode of celebration, that we may readily believe it to 
have been practised by the same early Britons who raised the 
Carnedd to the memory of the dead, and worshipped the deity 
in the midst of a stony circle. 

An instance of the single stone, probably of British erection, 
and as likely to be commemorative of some important occurrence, 
may be noticed at Rudston, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 
This pillar is not less than twenty-four feet in height, five feet leu 
inches in breadth, and two feet three inches in thickness. Three 
stones, probably erected by the Britons on a similar occasion, occur 
atTrtdech, in MoBmoutlishire,* and may be adduced as aspecimen 


♦ These stones arc noticed ia the Beauties for Monmouthshire, p. 156 — 7. 


pf the monument consisting; of several pillars. These are of un- 
equal height, the tallest being 15 feet above the ground; and 
they stand too nearly in a right line to have formed part of a 
circle used for religious purposes. 

But, although not constituting portions of a temple, there is 
reason for believing that large erect stones, placed artificially in 
tlie •grrouud, may have been regarded with religious reverence by 
the ancient Britons, and may, indeed, have been worshipped by 
them, as representatives of their fanciful gods. A similar species 
of idolatry is known to have prevailed in the earliest ages of 
mankind;* and a superstitious regafMl for these rude monuments 
(the probable relique of idolatrous veneration) is ascertained to 
have existed amongst the inhabitants of Britain, even in the 
Sfventh century.-f 

.•It is, likewise, . probable that single stones were often erected 
as memorials of civil contracts; but the investigator may be some- 
times misled if he hastily attribute such erections to a solemn 
purpose, whether religious or civil, as many of the ponderous 
stones often seen on heaths, in fields, or by the road side, were, 
possibly, placed as mere boundary marks ; and, perhaps, in 
ages long subsequent to those now under discussion. 

Barrows ; Cairns; and Funeral RELiauEs of the An- 
cient BiMTONS. — The funeral monuments of the earliest ages 
of society, are calculated, by their simplicity of construction, to 
survive'the sculptured stone, and engraved brass, of periods more 

G 2 refined* 

The editor of that part of tlie Beauties describes the three stones as being pro- 
bably " set up as sepulchral ineinorials, or to designate a place of Druidical 

• See Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 162; and Mona Antiqua, p. 5t. 

+ Borlase's Antiquities, 6ic. p. \6i — 163. It is believed that the early 
Christian missionaries often compounded with the prejudices of the Pagan 
Britons. Unable to dissuade them from viewing these shapeless, ponderous, 
ktones as objects demanding reverence, the Christian ministers embellished 
the rude embleBis of divinity with the figure of the cross, and thus pioatly 
diver(«d the adoration of the heathen into a more sacred channel. 


refined. Tliese vre know lo have consisted, amongst many na- 
tions, of heaps of stones, or earlh, raised over liie body of 
the deceased; and such we find, from unequivocal testimony, to 
have been the practice with the ancient Britons. 

On many of the downs, the moors, and other waste lands of 
Britain, hitherto deemed repulsive to the labours of the agricul- 
turalist, are still existing barrows, or tumuli, which sometimes 
meet the eye in melancholy solitude, but which, in other districts, 
are piled around in an emphatical profusion, and impart to the 
surface a wavy roughness, fraught with the truly impressive story 
of days long past, and otherwise beyond the reach of record. — 
Beneath these rude heaps lie buried the ancient inhabitants of the 
island ! 

The tumuli, or barrows, found in England and Wales* vary 
much in shape and size, as well as in situation. The greatest 
variety is, perhaps, to be seen in the neighbourhood of Stone- 
henge; and Sir R. Colt Hoare f describes the peculiarities of 
the most prominent, and divides them into classes, in the fol- 
lowing manner. 

The Long Barrows " differ considerably in their structure as 
well as dimensions ; some of them resemble an egg, cut in two 
lengthways, and the convex side placed uppermost; some are 
almost of a triangular form ; whilst others are thrown up in a 
long ridge, of a nearly equal breadth at each end; but we find, 
more generally, one end of these barrows broader than the other, 
and that broad end pointing towards the east ; we also more fre- 
quently find them placed on elevated situations, and standing 
singly J though in some groups is seen one long barrow intro- 


• These tumuli are noticed in many parts of the Beauties. Some of the 
wio-it curious occur in the volumes for Curnwail ; Derbyshire ; Dorsetshire; 
Hampshire; Lincolnshire; Kent; and Wiltshire. Cairns, or Carnedds, are 
frequently described in the Beauties for Northumberland, and for Wales. 

+ Hiii, of Ancient Wilts. Part I. Introduction. In the same place are 
IKesPiited engravings of the most curious varieties of funeral tumuli, existing 
in t!ic iibuvu neighbourhood. 


dnced amongst the others." The contents of this description of 
barrow^ attest it to be of the highest antiquity amongst those re- 
maining in Britain. 

The Tumulus which appears to be most frequently found is 
termed, by Sir R. Hoare, the Bowl Barrow, from its obtuse 
rotundity of form; and is sometimes surrounded by a slight 

The Bell Barrow, " from its elegance of form seems to have 
been a refiuemeut on the Bowl barrow/* It abounds in the 
neighbourhood of Stonehenge. 

The Druid Barroio (so named by Dr. Stukeley, and divided 
into two classes by Sir R. Hoare) was supposed, by the former 
writer, to have belonged to the ministers of religion amongst the 
early British ; but Sir Richard has " strong reason for supposing 
that these tumuli were appropriated to the female tribes. The 
outward vallum, with the ditch within, is most beautifully mould- 
ed : in the area we sometimes s^e one, two, or three mounds, 
which, in most instances, have been found to contain diminutive 
articles, such as small cups," &c. 

The Pond Barrow presents a curions and inexplicable variety. 
It differs entirely from the others, and resembles an excavation 
made for a pond, being circular and surrounded by a vallum, but 
having no protuberance within the area, which is perfectly level. 
Several of this species of barrow have been dug into, but neither 
sepulchral remains, nor any other indication of the purpose for 
which they were designed, has yet been discovered. 

The Ticin Barrow is by no means of common occurrence, a^d 
contains, as is denoted by its name, two tumuli inclosed within 
the same circle. We may suppose that two persons closely 
united by inclination, or by ties of blood, were here interred. 

The small Conic Barrow is seen in many parts of the island; 
and it is observed Mr. Douglas, in his elaborate work, intituled 
Neuia Britannica, " that these tumuli are generally found on bar- 
ren ground, as commons and moors. When discovered on culti- 
vated land, their cones, or congeries, have been levelled by til- 

G 3 Jaj^e; 


lage; and it is only by a casual discovery with the ploagh, that 
the contents of such interments have been found/'* These bar- 
rows seldom exceed 33 feet in diameter, and are raised of earth. 
They are generally surrounded with a narrow trench. The cist 
in which the body was deposited is of an unequal depth, de- 
pending, probably, on the dignity of the deceased, and the sump- 
tuousness of his funeral. 

The Broad Barrow resembles, in a great degree, the Bowl 
Barrow, but is considerably broader and flatter at the top. 

Although the above classification of barrows, and description 
of their shape, are chiefly founded on observations made in one 
part of England, it appears that they present a satisfactory com- 
pendium of those most usually discovered throughout the whole 
of England and Wales. The material is generally earth aloue ; 
earth mixed with stones ; or stones only, heaped together with- 
out any other art than that necessary to impart a decided charac- 
ter to the shape of the tumulus. Instances of this latter kind 
often occur in Northumberland, and in Wales. It may be de- 
sirable to remind the reader that tumuli, thus composed of loose 
stones, are termed Cairns, or Camedds, in contradistinction from 
such earthy mounds as are denominated Barrows. 

In point of size, these funeral heaps are as various as in shape. 
The largest, which often stand alone in solitary grandeur, but 
are sometimes seen towering in rude majesty over a far-spread 
group, are of stately proportions, and must have been raised at a 
very great cost of labour. Of this class the prodigious elevation 
termed Silbury Hill may be adduced as a specimen, which is of 
the following dimensions: 560 feet in diameter at the base; 
170 feet in perpendicular height; and 105 feet in diameter, 
at the top.f The smallest are not more than 13 feet in diame- 
ter | 


• Nenia Britannica, p. 1 — 2. 
Ecaotieii for Wilts, p. 716. and Muninienta Aniiqna, Vol I. arllclp Sjl- 
l^prj Hill. 

X Taenia Britannfca, p. |. 


In regard to the nation by which the great majority of these 
tumuli were formed, it is observed by Mr. King, that " there is 
very great reason to believe that almost all the Barrovrs and 
Cairns We have in this island are British ; and that even those 
which were heaped up in Roman times, and where Roman in* 
cignia have been found, were Uie sepultures not of Romans, but 
of British officers, ©r chieftains, in Roman service."* 

Since the period at which this opinion was delivered, various 
fresh data have occurred, from the careful industry with which 
numerous barrows have been opened in several districts, but par- 
ticularly in Wiltshire ; wid the result of each investigation tends 
towards its establishment for correctness. It must, however, be 
remarked that in many instances a subsequent deposit occurs, 
which produces vestigia of much later times, and is sometintes 
mistaken for the original interment. It is also evident, as is ob- 
served by Mr. Whitaker,t that the custom of raising barrows 
over the deceased, survived the introduction of Christianity. That 
it continued among many of the Britons after the departure of 
the Romans is also unquestionable; and, perhaps, it was not en- 
tirely relinquished before the middle of the eighth century, at 
which time Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained leave 
to make cemeteries within cities. t The small earthy mound 
iitill heaped over the remains of those who had trodden a hum- 
ble path in life, is evidently a diminutive representative of the 
ancient barrow. 

The burial places of the earliest Britons form the leading sub- 
ject of the present enquiry. That these have been discovered in 
many parts of the island is evinced by the rude character, and 
peculiar construction, of many implements found in the vicinity 

G 4 if( 

Maninicnta Antiqua, Vol. I. p. 26T. 

.f History of Manchester, Vol. II. p. 140. 
% Some remarks concerning the period at which cemcter/cs were probnblf 
first annexed to places of Christian worship, are presciM^ii ia the sectiua 
which treats of Anglo-Saxon modes of burial. 


of the bones, crashes. It is highly probable that the greater 
number of tiie barrows in Wiltisiiire are raised over the remains 
of the early Celtic inhabitants of the island; but no industry of 
research has enabled any enquirer to ascribe distinct ranges of 
tumuli, in any county, to a particular tribe, or to a precise his> 
torical era. 

It is observed by Mr. Whitaker, that "the mode of interment 
among the primitive Britons, and the primitive Gauls, was cither 
by consigning the remains entire and undefaced to the ground, 
or by previously reducing them into ashes. Tlie former is un- 
doubtedly the most natural and obvious, and must, therefore, 
have been the original form of sepulture in the world. The lat- 
ter is evidently a refinement upon the otlier, introduced at first, 
in all probability, to prevent any accidental indignities, or to 
preclude any deliberate outrages upon the venerable remains of 
the dead."* i ;e..ii 

It is satisfactorily proved, by investigations of tumuli in vari- 
ous parts of this island, that the al)ove statement is correct, in 
regard to the customs prevailing among the Britons; and, on this 
subject, the purpose of information will be best answered by an 
abridged extract of Sir R. Coll Hoare's History of ancient VVill- 
shire: " From the researches made in our British tumuli we have 
every reason to suppose that the two ceremonies of burying the 
body entire, and of reducing it to ashei^ by fire, prevailed at the 
same time. In each of these ceremonies we distinguish a variety 
in the particular mode adopted. In the first we have frequently 
found the body deposited within a cist, with the legs and knees 
llrawn up, and the htad placed towards the north. This I con- 
ceive to be the most ancient form of burial. 

" The second mode of burying the body entire, is proved to be: 
of a much later period, by the articles deposited witii the human 
remains. In this case we find the bodies extended dXfull length, 


• Hjilorj pf JJancUeitcr, Vol. II. p. 139. 


the heads placed at random, in a variety of directions, and iu- 
strutnents of iron accompanying tliem. 

" Two modes of cremation seem also to have been adopted ; 
at first the body was burnt, the ashes and bones collected, and 
deposited on the floor of the barrow, or in a cist excavated in the 
native chalk. This, being the most simple, was, probably, the 
most primitive custom practised by the ancient Britons. The 
funeral urn in which the ashes of the dead were secured, was the 
refinement of a later age. The bones when burnt were collected 
and placed within the urn, which was deposited, with its mouth 
dotcnwards, in a cist cut in the chalk. Sometimes we have 
found them with their mouth upwards; but these instances are 
not very common : we have slso frequently found remains of the 
linen cloth, which enveloped the bones, and a little brass pia 
-which secured them. 

" Of these different modes of interment I am of opinion that 
the one of burying the body entire, with the legs gathered up, 
-was the most ancient ; that the custom of cremation succeeded, 
and prevailed with the former ; and that the mode of burying 
the body entire, and extended at full length, was of the latest 

The barrows of England and Wales exhibit, at the interior, a 
considerable dissimilarity of cou&truction, as will be supposed 
likely from their outward variety of character, from the difierent 
tribes to which they belonged, and from the difierent ages in 
which they were constructed, even when decidedly British, and 
probably anterior to the Roman invasion. Some barrows of large 
dimensions are described as possessing a gallery, or passage, 
formed of large stones, which leads to a Kistvaen, or to several 
Kistvaens, or small roofed places of sepulture. As a' specimen 
of this description of tumulus, may be noticed the barrow termed 
Pairy's Toote, at no great distance from Bath.f 


• History of Aucient Wilts. Introduction, p. 24. 
+ Vide King's Munitnenta Autiqua, Vol. I. p. 29S— 294; and Ccnt'jt. 
Mag. Vol. LIX. p. 392. 


But the interior of the greater number is arranged mth more 
simplicity. In some few instances the earth, or material of whicU 
the tumulus is formed, is found in a mass, incumbent on the fune- 
ral deposit; but more frequently the remains of the deceased 
were placed in a Kistvaen, or chest, composed of several large 
Blabs of stone, set upright, and protected at the top by a larger 
slab placed horizontally; or merely iu a Cist, by which term 
may be understood an excaration cut in the soil, or chalk, on 
which the tumulus is raised. Subsequent interments are fre- 
quently discovered, and often bear evident marks of having taken 
place at a period not very distant from the first deposit. Thus, 
many tumuli acted, probably, as family places of burial. 

The skeleton of the ancient Briton, or bis inurned ashes, are 
•ometimes found without any article of accompaniment : but there 
usually are discovered numerous memorials of the simplicity of 
manners, and superstitious fancies, which prevailed among those 
who performed his funeral rites. 

Mr. Whilaker observes, " that a just, but wildly devious, be- 
lief in the immortality of the soul induced the Gauls and Britons 
to bury many particulars with the body, which the deceased re- 
garded in his life;"* and the truth of this remark is evinced by 
the disclosure of the sepulchral remains of the latter people. We 
here find the military" arms of the deceased, sometimes half con- 
sumed by the flames of the funeral pile; the horn of the stag, or 
the tusk of the boar, emblems of his success in the chace; the 
bones of his horse, his dog. and those of other animals favoured 
by him in his life, or deemed worthy sacrifices to his shade. 

The Urns discovered in the contiguity of the remains oi the 
ancient Bsilons appear, from their rudeness of form, to have 
been made before the use of the turner's lathe was known, and 
are divided by Sir R. C. Hoare into three classes rf — The harge 
Vm, in which the bones of the deceased when burned were de- 

• History of Manchester, Vol. II. p. 141 — 2. 
+ Introduction to Ilistorj of Ancieut Wilts, p. 2.5, 


posited. A second kind, differeat from the above, both ia shape 
and design, \»hich are most frequently found with skeletons, 
and placed at the head or feet. It is observed by Sir Richard 
Hoare, that " a very ancient custom prevailed, and even still is 
practised amongst savage nations, of depositing articles of food 
with the dead ;" and, as he thinks that the Britons very pro- 
bably destined these vases for the same purpose, he denominates 
them Drinking Cups. " They are always neatly ornamented 
■with varied patterns, and hold about a quart in measure." The 
third species of vase is of smaller proportions, and is often fan- 
tastic in its shape and ornaments. These tatter vessels are f e- 
qnently perforated on the sides; and the investigator of the Wilt- 
shire tumuli is inclined to supj)ose that "they were filled with 
balsams and precious ointments, and suspended over the funeral 

Amongst the most curious articles, after the above enumera- 
tion, may be noticed lance-heads and daggers of brass; stone 
celts,* in great abundance ; arrow-heads, of stone, of flint, and 
of bone; various personal ornaments, of pure gold, of coloured 
stone, and of bone ; beads of amber, of jet, of glass, and horn ; 
brass pins ; and the adder-stone, or anguinum, to which it is 
said the Druids attached a great superstitious value. 


* The reader niaj be reminded that the article which antiquaries gene- 
rally attribute to the Celts?, and therefore term a Ccb (for want of a more 
specific appellation) is an in^trHroent of a wedge-like form, usually of stone, 
or of brass, or copper. Although antiquaries agree as to the name, they 
diflFer much concerning the purpose for which these instruments were proba- 
bly designed. Some suppose them to be no other than a species of chissel ; 
others think that they were used as sacrificial implements, or as axe-heads for 
more homely purposes ; while a third party believes them to have formed the 
blade of the British battle-axe. There are engravings of Celts in several of 
«nr county histories ; and a plate, representing a considerable variety of spe- 
cimens, is inserted in Cough's edition of Camden's Britannia (Edit. 1806.) 
It is understood Mr. Britlon lias collected materials for a dissertation on 
these and other relics of British antiquity, and proposes to publish a volum« 
on the subject, introductory to bis work intituled Architectural Antiquities. 


Besides the tumuli thus appropriated to the inhumation of in- 
dividuals, or of distinct families, it may be observed, in this 
place, that it has been frequent, in most ages, for a heap of 
earth to be raised over the promiscuous remains of the less emi- 
nent among those who perish on the field of battle.* These 
Battle Barrows are easily distinguished from undoubted 
British tumuli, by the vast number of bones which they con- 


A new era in the history of Britain commences at the date of 
the Roman invasion of the island. Scenes of bloodshed, truly 
lamentable as they relate to the struggles between brave inde- 
pendent tribes, and a foreign enemy stimulated to conquest by 
ambition alone, usher to notice this period of history ; but the 
achievements of the sword are so quickly followed by the pro- 
gress of those arts which civilize mankind and dignify human ex- 
istence, that we are tempted to forget the penalties accruing 
from subjugation, and to view, in the success of the invader, 
only the progressive triumph of refinement over degrading rude- 

I conduct with alacrity the reader to a brief examination of 
this Historical Era; and, as a necessary subject of preliminary 
discussion, I present a succinct account of the military opera* 
lions of the Romans in this country, from the date of the first 
invasion under Caesar, to the period at which, in a military capa- 
city, they finally quitted Britain. 

Julius Caesar, who had long prosecuted a war in Gaul for the 
extension of the Roman empire, directed his ambitious views to- 

• This cu&tom has descended even to the times of our fathers ; three bar- 
vowt were raised over the remains of the slain on the field of Culluden, s« 
lately as the year 1746. 


wards the neighbouring island of Britain, even whilst his en- 
tire success in Gaul was uncertain. He efTecied his first landing:, 
according to the calculation of Dr. Halley, on the 26lh of 
Angustj in the year 55 before the commencement of the Chris- 
tian Era. Without obtaining any important advantage, he quit- 
ted the island after a stay of little more than three weeks ; hast- 
ened, as himself insinuates, by an apprehension of the quick ap- 
proach of winter. 

In the spring of the succeeding year (A. A. C. 54.) Caesar, 
who had been making great preparations in Gaul for such an 
undertaking during the winter, again invaded Britain, and with 
a formidable power. His army consisted of five legions of infan- 
try, and two thousand cavalry; and was transported in a fleet of 
more than eight hundred ships. The Britons had before inefiec- 
tually struggled to prevent his landing; but they now waited his 
approach on some rising ground, at the distance of several miles 
from the coast, and endeavoured to profit by the natural strength 
of the country, and their knowledge of its recesses. They had 
prepared for internal defence with vigour and discretion, having 
placed the sole conduct of the war in the hands of an individual 
prince, Cassivellaunus, or Cassibellinus. 

This general directed the efforts of the Britons with admira- 
ble skill, and his army on several occasions displayed great 
yalour; but a want of lasting unanimity amongst the confede* 
rated States, rendered unavailing the wisdom of the chief and 
the courage of the soldier. The capital of Cassivellaunus fell a 
prey to the enemy ; and this brave prince was under the neces? 
sity of suing for peace, and of consenting that Britain should pay 
a yearly tribute to the Romans, and should deliver hostages, us 
pledges of good faith. 

Thus ended Gsesar's second campaign in Britain, during which 
he did not penetrate farther into the interior of the countr} than 
Verolam, the capital of Cassivellaunus. He re-embarked for 
Gaul in the latter part of the month of September, in the same 
year in which he entered the island; and it is evident that lie 



made no greater a progress towards ihe conquest of Britain, than 
consisted in bloodshed and ravage amongst a few of its most ex- 
posed states, as he raised no fort, nor left any military force to 
exact that obedience, which would appear to be inferred from the 
obligation of paying tribute, into which a part had entered in the 
name of the whole.* 

When relieved from the second hostile visit of Julius Caesar, 
Britain remained free from invasion for the term of ninety-seven 
years. During this period the island continued nominally tribu- 
tary to Rome, and an occasional intercliange of friendly circum- 
stances appears to have existed between the two countries. But 
the Romans, in their pride of empire, looked with repugnance 
on an intercourse with any people who were not the slaves of 
their authority. They often threatened hostility, for the pur- 
pose of subjugation; and, in the year of the Christian Era 43, 
they commenced a war, destined to produce events highly curious 
and important in the British annals. 

Id this year, Aulus Ptautius, by command of the Emperor 
Claudius, led from Gaul into Britain an army which consisted of 


• A new, and very iugenious, view of tbe political arts prtictised fay Caesar, 
in regard to his iorasiun of Britain, is presented in the history r.i' Hertford- 
shire, under the article of <- £arly Inhabitants." It is there observed that 
Caesar, " having conquered the whole of the Belgic tribes of Gaul, was pro- 
bably glad of so iavouiable an excuse as that of protecting the Celtic nations 
against the Belgae of Britain, to extend his dominions over a new world, 
though he condescends, himself, to give a better reason, viz. that of punish- 
ing the Britons (meaning, evidently', the Belgic Britons) for the assistance they 
had sent his enemies on the continent, who, were, indeed, their relations and 
countrymen. And this explains, at the same time, the alliance which the 
Celts, on their side, were so ready to make with him against the common 

Ill another page of the same work, it is observed that " tl.c object of the 
invasion is plainly proved, by the strung circumstance of the Celtic nations 
»lme (the Iceni Magni, the Segontiaci, the Ancaiites, the Bibroci, and the 
Cassii) v?ho inhabited the country the roost open to the irruptions of the 
£«lg9e, immediatily sending eiubussadurs to Cssar." 


four legions, wilh their auxiliaries atid cavalry. Vespasian (afler- 
'wards Emperor) was appointed second in command ; and in this 
situation gave the first proof of his extraordinary talents. If we 
may credit Suetonius, he fought thirty battles, iu all of which 
he was victorious, and took more than twenty towns. 

The Britons, divided by faction, and, perhaps, nut sufficiently 
aware of the serious intention of the enemy, failed to take suit- 
able measures for the defence of their coast. But Caractacus and 
Togodumnus, the sous of the deceased King Cunobeline, em- 
bodied their respective subjects, and opposed tlie Romans iu 
several battles. They sustained defeat, and Togodumnus was 
slain ; but the Britous still remained in arms, and offered uo pro- 
posals of peace or submission. 

The Euiperor Claudius soon after arrived in Britain, and took, 
the command of the army. He stayed for a short term only, but 
received the submissions of several princes, and appointed y^u/u« 
Plautius governor of the new province. Plautius is reported to 
have conducted the whole of the war with much success; but bi» 
victories appear to have produced little permanent beuefit to the 
design of tlie invaders. 

Oslorius Scapula was uamed governor of the Roman pro- 
vince iu Britain, in the year 50. When he arrived at his com- 
mand, it appears that the more patriotic of the Britous were so 
far from a state of terror and retreat, that they were engaged iu 
committing acts of devastation on the nations which had formed 
alliances with the Romans. He commenced his administratiou 
with equal bravery and policy. He defeated the predatory Bri- 
tons with considerable slaughter; and, as a mean of protecting 
the province from future incursions, he constructed a chain of 
forts along the northern border of the province, which appears to 
have been then formed by the river* Severn, Upper (or Warwick- 
shire) Avon,* and Nen, or Nyne. But an additional measure o? 


• la tbe patsage of Tacitus, which form* the autboritj for this hisiorical is- 



precaution adopted by Ostorius, that of ordering the inhabitants 
of every suspected district to surrender their arms, led ta a re- 
volt; during which the Iceni, assisted by some neighbouring na- 
tions, hazarded a battle, and were overthrown.* 

The government of Ostorius was of short duration, but prolific 
of memorable events. The Silures, under the conduct of the 
renowned Caractacus, made a desperate struggle for the preser- 
vation of their liberty, in the year 51. At this time was fought 
that celebrated battle in which Caractacus was utterly defeated. 
He retired for shelter to the court of Cartismandua, Queen of 
the Brigautes, by whom he was betrayed to the Conqueror. 
His native majesty of demeanour, when afterwards exposed at 
Rome, as a captive, in chains, and preceded by his enslaved 
family, has often employed the efforts of the pen and pencil. 

Ostorius Scapula died in Britain, in the year 52; and Clau- 
dius appointed AulusDidius as his successor in the governmeRt 


a^rtion, the rivers noticed in connection with the line of forts drawn by 0»- 
torius, are the Antona and the Severn. Mr. Whitaker (Hist, of Manchester, 
Vol. II. p. 2.59 and mHt) advances strong reasons for supposing that the rirer 
now termed the Upper Atoh is the Antona of Tacitus. 

• The suggestions towards a history of Roman and British politics, in the 
early stages of tlie Roman invasion of this island, are thus continued in the 
erudite work, of which L have ventured (p. 94 note,) to give a previous short 
extract. " The Celts, whose ejes had been shut to the interested plans of 
their Roman allies, had assisted Vespasian actively in the reduction of the 
Velgic power in the west ; but began to be alarmed when they saw Ostorius, 
under the pretence of defending them against any farther encroachment of 
that people, erecting posts in their own territories. These, at the commence- 
mrnt, they regarded, perhaps, only as detached works; but they were 
awakened to their own danger when liiey saw, by the continuation of the line 
of forts from the mouth of the Nen towards the banks of the Severn, how com,- 
pletely the two great tribes of the Iceni would be divided from eacli other, 
and how, by the intersection ofSaltways, the FyknieUl, the Fosse, the Wat- 
ling, and ibe Ermin Streets, their artful enemies had cut '/IF all connection 
between the natives of the northern and those of the soutliern pan of the 
island. The Iceni, Jherefore, flew to arms." Hist, of Hertfordshire. Atli- 
c!« " Karly luhabitants." 


of the British province. The Silures, notwithstanding the loss 
they had sustained, continued to oppose the Romans v?ith un- 
daunted bravery ; and they now gained for a leader Venusius, 
•who had married the infamous Cartismandua. This woman was 
alike faithless to evefy trust. Her breach of fidelity towards 
her husband, which was evinced in the most open manner, led 
to a division of family interest and a civil war. The Romans 
fomented the quarrel, and lent aid to the queen ; but not any 
events of great historical importance occurred in the progress of 
this war. Didius continued Propraetor during the short remainder 
of the reign of Claudius, and for the first three years of Nero, 
his successor in the empire. 

In regard to the chief military operations of his government, 
he appears to have found sufiicient employment in endeavours to 
restrain the incursions of the enemy. 

Veranius succeeded Aulus Didius, but died in less than one 
year after his arrival, without performing any action worthy of 

Suetonius Paulinus, one of the most celebrated generals of 
that age, was then appointed to the government. Encouraged 
by some victories which he obtained over different tribes, he in- 
vaded, in the year 61, the Isle of Anglesey, a district rendered 
sacred, in the opinion of the Britons, by the residence of the 
Archdruid, and which afl^ordedan asylum to the fugitive enemies 
of the Roman government. The circumstances attending his 
triumph over the army which opposed him in Anglesey, are 
stated in that part of the " Beauties" which treats of North 
Wales.* We there find, [and the assertion is supported by the 
authority of Tacitus,] that, by order of Suetonius, the sacred 
groves were cut down, the altars demolished, and many of the 
Druids were burned in their own fires. 

While Suetonius was engaged in this conquest, an important 
"war broke out on the continent of Britain. Prasutagus, King of 

H the 

• Beauties for North Wales, p. 143—144, apud Tacit Annal. 


the Iceni^ lately deceased, liad adopted the narrow policy of err' 
deavouring to secure the safety of his own family and kingdom'^ 
in nee^lect of tlie interests of the common cause. In pursuit of 
this object, he named, in his last will, the eraperor as his joint- 
heir with his own two daughters. The Romans, who appear to 
have largely partaken at this period of the sanguinary and licen- 
tious character of their emperor, Nero, cooMnitted the most 
cruel outrages in consequence of this bequest. The Ic«ni re- 
paired to arms, ui>der the conduct of Boadicia, widow of Prasu- 
lagus ; and were joined by the Trinobantes, and some other 
states, who were almost equally aggrieved by the tyranny of the 
Roman officers and soldiers. In ttie absence of Suetonius, the 
allied nations destroyed the settlement of Camulodunum; aitd, 
shortly after, encountered and defeated the ninth legion. On 
receiving intelligence of this formidable revolt, Suetonius march- 
ed his array to London, which city, thongk not honoured with 
the title ©f a colony, was populous and wealthy. He shortly, 
however, quitted this place, and the Britons entering it, under 
the command of Boadicia, put such of the inhabitants as remain- 
ed to the sword. VeruUimium (St. Albans) afterwards expe- 
rienced the same dreadful visitation ; and the British army, greatly 
inoeased in numbers, and flushed with success, sought the 
Romans, with a determination to try the issue of a contest in the 
open field. At this period, A. D. 61, was fought the battle so 
greatly distinguished in the annals of Britain for the heroic con- 
duct of Boadicia, who, finding that the tumultuary valour of her 
numerous army was not able to cope with the military skill of 
Ihe legions, preferred death to slavery, and put an end to her 
niserics by poison. 

Though much weakened by the defeat which they sustained 
«nder Boadicia, the Britons still remained inarms; and, aJbout 
tlie end of this year, or in the early part of the year 62, Sueto- 
nius was finally recalled. Between the date of his recal .ind tlie 
commencement of the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, the suc- 
cessive governors of Britain were named Petronius Turpiluinus ; 



Trebellius Maximus; and Vectius Bolanus. Each was inac- 
tive; and this want of enterprise must be chiefly attributed to the 
distracted state of politics at Rome. 

The comparative tranquillity of the Britons terminated soon 
after the accession of Vespasian to the imperial throne. Peti- 
lius Cerealis was the first governor appointed by this Emperor; 
and, in the year 1'2, or 73, the Romans under bis command 
io:uIe war upon the numerous and powerful tribe of the Bri^an- 
Xj^s, which they subdued, after several sanguinary battles. 

Julius Frontinus, who succeeded to the governmeul in the 
year 75, carried the Roman arms against the Siiures; an enemy 
difficult of conquest, from the situation of their country, and 
from their native valour and love of liberty. This brave nation 
which liad often been foremost iu opposing the invader, was at 
length compelled by Frontinus to submit to the power of Rome. 

A bright era now occurs in the annals of the Roman connec* 
tion with Britain. The sword had hitherto been used as the un- 
disguised instrument of ambition and avarice. A great general 
and wise politician arises at this period, and permanently secures 
the various triumphs of his arms, by introducing the arts of 
polished life to the usage of the Britons, and by teaching them 
to forget the opprobium of subjugation while emulous of imi- 
tating the manners of their conquerors. This was Julius Agri- 
cola, personally felicitous in having his actions recorded by 
Tacitus, one of the most eloquent historians of antiquity ; famous 
in addiner u large part of Britain to the map of the empire; 
and glorious in the clemency of his administration. 

Agricola entered upon the government of Britain, late in the 
cummer of the year 78. He found the troops retired into quar- 
ters; for, up to this period, the war had been prosecuted in fair 
leather only, and the winter passed in pleasures unconnected 
•with the great object of the invaders. But Agricola perceived 
the necessity of unremitting efforts against nations which did not 
fail to recover speedily from defeat ; and he immediately drew 
together a chosen part of his army, and penetrated the country 

U 2 •£ 


of the Ordovices, yrho had recently manifested a hostile spirlf. 
On these people he inflicted a severe and admonitory vengeance ; 
and then proceeded to secure the victory formerly obtained by 
Suetonius in the Isle of Mona (Anglesey.) As he was not pro- 
vifled with barks, he selected the lighter divisions of the auxili- 
aries, and caused them to swim over the narrowest part of the 
Channel. The Britons, confounded by the unexpected bold- 
ness of this measure, surrendered the island without resist- 

In the monrths of deep winter which succeeded the above mili- 
tary operations, this able commander was still labouring at the 
aim of conquest, by endeavours to produce a sympathy of taste 
and habit between the tributary and tlieir invaders. On the same 
system he acted, invariably, during the whole of his govern- 
ment; thus forming, by the introduction of Roman manners and 
arts, an epoch more important in the annals of the invasion, 
than any nominal extension of empire produced by the mere 
achievements of the sword. 

In the ensuing campaign, A. D. 79, Agricola conducted the 
Roman arms northward, and reduced several Britisii nations to 
obedience. The names of these tribes are not mentioned by 
Tacitus, the historian on whose authority this part of history de- 
pends ; but it is observed by Mr. Whitaker, " that the only Bri- 
tons who now remained unconquered by the Romans, within the 
present kingdom of England, were such of the Carnabii as in- 
habited Cheshire; the Sistuntii ; theYolantii; and a part of the 
Gadeni and Ottadiiii, beyond both. These, therefore, the three 
first of these at least, were the nations which Agricola attacked 
in his second campaign, and the names of which his historian 
unaccountably suppresses."* — To secure these conquests, he 
built a number of fortresses, which are supposed to have stood 
oil, or near, the tract where Hadrian's rampart, and the wall of 


• Kist. of Mandiesler, Vol. I. p. 40. 


Severus, were afterwards erected; namely, from Sol way Firth to 
the river Tyne. 

Agricola made five other campaigns in Britain ; but as these 
were directed against the Caledonians, an examination of them 
is not essential to the present work. It may, however, be ob- 
served that although he obtained several victories over that hardy 
people, he was unable to effect their entire conquest. For the 
security of such encroachments as he was enabled to make on 
their country, he advanced his line of fortifications still farther 
north, and formed a chain of forts across the narrow neck of land 
which separates the Firths of Forth and Clyde. In his two last 
Caledonian expeditions he was attended by his fleet, which now 
for the first time, sailed completely round Britain ; — a voyage of 
discovery which, perhaps, produced as much subject of conver- 
sation and wonder, as the circumnavigation of the globe at a more 
recent period. 

Agricola was recalled from Britain in the year 85. We have 
seen that he considerably extended the geographical bounds of 
the empire; and, by the mildness and wisdom of his government, 
he laid the foundation of a permanent obedience to the Roman 
sway in the south of Britain, now termed ENGLAND. From 
the time of his administration, is to be dated a great alteration iu 
the manners of the inhabitants of this district. Roman learning, 
customs, and fashions met with favour among the conquered ; and 
the adoption of these produced a sociability of intercourse, and 
a growing unity of interests. While Agricola held command in 
Britain, three successive emperors filled the throne of Rome; 
Vespasian; Titus; and Domitian. He was succeeded in the 
governnient of the British province by Sallustius Lucullus, of 
whom little is said, but that he invented a lance of a new form, 
and that he was put to death, by the tyrant Domitian, for be- 
stowing on this weapon the name of tlie Lucullean Lanee. 

So imperfectly are the actions of the Romans in Britain re- 
corded by their historians, that we are ignorant of the particular 
transactions which took place during the reign of the Emneror 

H 3 Neixa, 


Nerva, nnd tliat of his successor Trajan ; and even of the hames 
of the officers who were then appoiuted governors of this pro- 
vince. It is hinted, in general terms, by one writer of anti- 
quity, that the Britons, during those reigns, bore the yoke with 
impatieace; and, indeed, it can scarcely be supposed that they 
were yet sufficiently familiar with slavery to submit to the vary- 
ing humours of fresh commanders, without partial opposition. 
But this spirit of repugnance was displayed with so little vio> 
lence, that, under the direction of the Emperor Trajan, impor* 
tant steps were taken for the improvement of the internal polity 
of the country. This great emperor was ever intent on works of 
public benefit ; and it is probable that several of the roads, which 
Bo materially conduced to the good order of the province, and 
which have left such impressive vestiges for the admiration of 
posterity, were formed during his reign. . 

Hadrian acceded to the imperial power, on the death of Tra- 
jan, in the year 117. Julius Severus was governor of Britain 
in the eai-ly part of his reign, and was succeeded by Priscus Li- 
cinius. — This Emperor visited Britain in person, but not for the 
purpose of extending the limits of the province by force of arms. 
His chief view, in personally investigating this, in conjunction 
with other provinces of the empire, was such a careful examina- 
tion into the state of civil and military affairs as might assist iu 
preserving peace on a secure basis. In pursuit of this noble ob- 
ject, he caused a wall of earth to be raised, as an additional de- 
fence of the south and conquered part of Britain against its north- 
ern and unsubdued neighbours.* This rampart extended from 
the mouth of the river Tyne on the east, to the Solway Firth 
on the west, nearly occupying the line of Agricola's first chain 
of forts. 


• In a note on the Itincrarj' of Richard of Cirencester (Mr. Hatcher'i 
Idit. p. 62.) it is judicifiusly observed that this rampart of earth was, evi- 
dently, nothing more than a line, intended to obstruct the passage of an 
enem^ between th£ stations, which coustituted the real defences of the 


In the reign of Antoninus Pius, ■which coramftneed A. D. 138, 
Lollius Urbicus was governor of Britain ; an able general, and 
one who was compelled by circumstances to exercise his talents 
with activity. The Caledonians in the vicinity of Hadrian's 
wall proToked a war; and LoUius, after defeating in several en- 
gagements the Maeatse, a tribe which inhabited the level coun- 
try near the wall, built a strong rampart farther northward, and 
between the Firths of Forth and Clyde. 

Similar commotions on the borders of the wall occurred in the 
reign of the succeeding Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus-; 
but they were quelled, without great difficulty, by his lieutenant, 
Calpurnius Agricola; and the south of Britain happily remained 
in a state of tranquillity, the inhabitants intermingling with the 
Romans by slow but sure degrees, and adopting their arts and 
polish in the same progress. 

The rampart erected in the reign of Antoninus Pius proved so 
inefficient a barrier, that the Caledonians broke through it early 
in the reign of Commodus, who succeeded Marcus Aurelius; 
and being joined by the Maeataj, committed great depredations 
upon the Roman province. Ulpius Marcellus, a general of 
great vigilance and bravery, was now appointed governor of Bri- 
tain; and he defeated the confederate nations in several battles. 
His success exposed him to the jealousy of his tyrannical master, 
and he was abruptly recalled. The names of his immediate suc- 
cessors are not known; but it appears that they partook of the 
vicious imbecility which prevailed at the court of Rome. Their 
incapacity produced great dissatisfaction amongst the legions; 
and it is observable that the Roman army in Britain had now be- 
come so formidable, from its long continuance in the province, 
that it ventured to send a deputation to the Emperor, remon- 
strating on the ill conduct of the person who had the direction of 
military affairs, and who, in the exercise of his function, recom- 
mended these unworthy officers. Their complaints met with 
attentio{); and Pertinax, who was afterwards Emperor, was 

H 4 sfiut 


sent to Britain, for the purpose of redressing the alleged 

Pertinax met with great difficulties in restoring contented dis< 
dpiine among the tumultuous soldiery, but he, at length, in 
come measure, succeeded ; and then resigned the government, as 
is believed, to Clodius Albinus, who possessed this command in 
the latter part of the reign of Commodus, and throughout the two 
following short and troubled reigns. 

On the death of the Emperor Didius Julianus, this general 
ventured to contend for the diadem. He assumed in Britain the 
insignia of empire, and led an army, consisting of British Romans 
and Romanized Britons, to the Continent, where he hazarded a 
battle, bat was defeated, and snbsequently destroyed himself in 
despair; thus leaving L. Septimius Severus in undisputed pos* 
session of the throne. 

The northern Britons did not fail to take advantage of the neg- 
lected state of the province, during these struggles for individual 
power. The Caledonians and Mxatx made destructive incur- 
sions on the south, where the interest of the Britons was now 
completely united with that of their conquerors. Severjas quickly 
reinforced the army of Britain, aud bestowed the command on 
Virius Lupus ; but the troops were either so deficient in number 
or in subordination, that Lupus felt it expedient to purchase the 
retreat of the enemy by a large sum of money. Such a peace 
was not likely to be durable. The incursions were repeated in 
several successive years, with all the ferocity incidental to a 
border-war; and the Emperor Severus repaired to Britain, in 
person, about the year 207. At this time he was aged, and 
afflicted with disease; but he entered on the war with alacrity, 
for the love of military glory lent a youthful ardour even to his 
latest exertions. In the present undertaking, he is said to have 
been additionally stimulated by a wish for removing from the 
dissolute pleasures of Rome his two sons, Caracalla and Geta. 
^ol|) these Princes attended him in his expedition* aud the 



events of this imperial visit are of considerable emphasis and 
renown in the annals of Roman operations in Britain. 

Severus deputed the government of South Britain to Geta, his 
youngest son; and proceeded against the allied northern nations, 
at the head of a formidable army. He passed the wall of 
Hadrian; and, notwithstanding the natural difficulties presented 
by the country, and the pernicious opposition of the enemy, whd 
declined meeting him in the open field, hut often decoyed his 
troops into destructive ambusheci, he penetrated into the heart of 
Caledonia, and compelled the inhabitants to sue for peace; which 
was granted to them only on condition of their relinquishing a 
portion of territory, and delivering up their arms. 

After concluding this peace, Severus marched his army into 
the northern parts of the Roman province ; and it was now that 
he carried into execution a great and meraoi-ahle work, some ves- 
tiges of which still remain to proclaim his activity, perseverance, 
and grandeur of views. — Convinced of the inefficiency of Hadrian's 
rampart of earth, he employed the soldiery in erecting a wall of 
solid stone, defended by numerous stations for the residence of 
garrisons; massy towers for the annoyance of assailants; and 
intervening watch turrets, in which sentinels maintained a regu- 
lar guard of observation. This wall ran nearly parallel with 
Hadrian's rampart, at a small distance towards the north; and 
was in height fifteen feet, and eight or nine feet in breadth. Its 
length was rather less than seventy four Roman miles; and the 
whole of this stupendous work, the greatest effort of Roman 
skill and industry in Britain, is believed to have been completed 
in two years.* 

The exertions of the Emperor Severus are more forcibly en- 
titled to admiration, from the oppressive character of the circum* 
stances, both mental and bodily, under which he laboured. — 


• For a statement of many opposite opinions, in regard to the history of 
the wall attributed tu Severus, the reader is referred to the Beauties for 
JS^ortburaberland, p. 2 — 7. 


Tortured and enfeebled by the gout, he was unable to ride on 
horseback, and was carried in a litter throughout the arduous 
northern marches of his troops ; whilst even the waning remoant 
of his life was in continual danger from the machinations of his 
own son, Caracalla. He died at York, in the year 211, broken 
hearted, even in the midst of such glory as he most dearly 
prized, that of victory. 

The empire was now divided between Caracalla and Geta. 
These youthful Emperors returned to Rome, shortly after the de- 
cease of Severus ; and from the period of their departure, until 
tlie year 284, very little is known concerning the political trans- 
actions in Britain. A happy paucity of information ! since the 
writers on whose testimony these ages of history depend, be- 
lieved their duty to consist only in chronicling scenes of turbu- 
lence and bloodshed. 

This long season of tranquillity experienced an interruption 
soon after the accession of Dioclesian to the imperial throne, in 
the year last mentioned; and the circumstances connected with 
the war which then took place are highly worthy of notice. 
Dioclesian admitted, as his companion in the cares and honours 
of government, Maximianus Herculius. The empire, though 
divided, was Judged to be still too extensive and unwieldy for the 
ruling power ; and two assistants were adopted, under the title 
of Ccesars. The persons thus elevated were named Constantius 
(often termed Constantius Chlorvs) and Galerius Maximianus. 

The 6rst efforts of these Emperors, in regard to the Britons, 
were directed against the piratical Franks and Saxons, who not 
only captured numerous merchant vessels, but often had the 
temerity to land on the coast, and plunder the inhabitants. For 
the protection of the seas against these marauders, the Roman 
government assembled a powerful fleet in khe harbour of Bou- 
logne, and bestowed the command on Carausius, an able naval 
officer, but a man of a faithless and ambitious disposition. When 
the misconduct of Carausius was ascertained, and it was dis- 
covered that he appropriated to h*3 own use the spoil of which 



Jie divested the pirates, orders were issued for him to be put to 
death. But he escaped from this danger ; and, having an abso- 
lute sway over the fleet, sailed for Rrituin, where he boldly as- 
sumed the ensigns of government, and prevailed on the army to 
support him in his pretensions. The era was propitious, as the 
Emperors were then perplexed by various distant wars; and the 
possession of the fleet was a circumstance of preponderating in- 
fluence in favour of the usurper. He was allowed the title of 
Emperor, and was permitted to retain uninterrupted dominion for 
several years. — In this event we first meet with an endeavour fb 
disjoin the province of Britannia Romana from the parent govern- 
ment; and we find that so daring a measure was adopted only by 
the man who discovered the true defensible strength of the coun- 
try to consist in its maritime capacities. It is memorable, like- 
wise, that Carausius, in this distracted state of affairs, formed 
an alliance with the Franks and Saxons; thus introducing the 
latter people to a close acquaintance with the island on which 
they afterwards performed a distinguished part. 

On a partition of the Roman empire, or rather of the duties of 
administration, which took place, in the year 2!)2, between the 
four princes who were united in the government, all the pro- 
vinces to the west of the Alps were allotted to Const antitts, who, 
shortly directed his attention towards the recovery of Britain. 
But this was a task of considerable difficulty, as the usurper 
had strengthened his fleet to an unprecedented degree, during 
Lis quiet sway over the resources of the island ; and was, like- 
wise, possessed of several important places in contiguous parts 
of the Continent. Constantius succeeded in wresting from him 
Boulogne, so formidable on account of its harbour; and com- 
menced, with great activity, the building of ships in diffisrent 
ports of Gaul. While these preparations were in progress, affairs 
look a new aspect, in consequence of the assassination of Carau- 
sius; which act was perpetrated at York, in the year "293, by 
Allectus, a confidential officer of the rebel chief. The murderer 
immediately assumed the purple of Empire and the government 



of Britain ; of whiclt he remained possessed, without disturbance, 
for nearly three years. 

The series of operations which led to the discomfiture of AI- 
lectus, and the restoration of Britain to the pale of the Empire, 
is developed with some difficulty, as it chiefly rests for elucida- 
tion on the pages of the panegyrist, Eumenius. The following 
brief statement appears to comprise the more important of the in- 
cidents there narrated. — Unwilling to stake the hazard of the 
war on a battle at sea, Constantius divided his armament into 
two squadrons, one of which was commanded by himself, and the 
other by Asclepiodotus, the captain of his guards. Although 
Constantius first put to sea, the squadron commanded by his cap- 
tain efiected the earliest landing. This division passed unnoticed, 
in a thick fog, the fleet of Allectus, which lay ofli" the Isle of 
Wight; and its leader debarked his troops on the neighbouring 
coast ofkrilain. He then burned his ships, that they might not 
fall into the hands of the enemy. 

Allectus, aware that the only chance of success depended on 
promptitude of action, hastened to the attack of the Roman army. 
But his troops consisted chiefly of auxiliaries, and he is said to 
have evinced little judgment in the mode of leading them to bat- 
tle. He was defeated and slain. Constantius, in the meantime, 
landed his force without opposition, and was marching to the 
succour of Asclepiodotus, when he received the welcome intelli- 
gence of that ofiScer's success, and the death of Allectus. This 
one battle terminated the war, except that a body of Franks and 
Saxons, principally composed of those who had escaped from the 
field of action, entered London, for the purpose of plundering 
that city before they quitted the island. But some ships of Con- 
stantius, which appear to have missed a direct passage, in con- 
sequence of storms or fogs, proceeded up the Thames at this 
critical juncture; and the tioops, disembarking, slaughtered great 
numbers of the plunderers, and preserved the city from threaten- 
ed devastation. 

• The usurpation of Carausius commenced in the year 287; and 



he was assassinated in 293. Alleclus, his successor, maintained 
the title of Emperor, and exercised government in Britain, for 
about three years. It is asserted by Eumenius that the Britons 
were decidedly averse to the sway of these usurpers, and that 
they viewed the restoration of the legitimate Roman government 
with correspondent sentiments of pleasure. This statement will 
be considered as quite probable, when we reflect on the intermix- 
ture of interests, and even of social ties, which must have taken 
place during the numerous years of peace that the province hap- 
pily experienced previous to the accession of Dioclesian. The 
Roman military in Britain appear to have snatched, with illusive 
ardour, at the new hope of independence of the empire, when it 
was presented by Carausius ; but they evidently found, by the ex- 
perience of nearly ten years, that such a state of separation was 
far from desirable. — Allectus could not depend on the swords of 
the Legions, and was supported by Mercenaries, (by Franks and 
Saxons chiefly) in the single battle which terminated this bold 
rebellion. It would, indeed, appear, from succeeding events, 
that the Roman army in Britain was, in these ages, so nearly in 
a state of colonization, as to look with distaste on turbulence 
and ambitious enterprise; whilst the Britons, to the south of 
the wall of Severus, attached to the conquerors by a love of 
their arts, and by a growing aflinity of manners, viewed the 
great city of the empire as a golden spot of promise and de- 

Dioclesian and Maximian resigned the imperial dignity about 
the year 204 j and were succeeded by their Csesars, Constantius 
and Galerius. On the division of government which followed 
this occurrence, Britain was allotted to Constantius, who resided 
itt this island, and died at York in the year 306. 

Constantine the Great, the son and successor of Constantius 
Chlorus,* was in the city of York at the time of his father's 


* Constantine was the son of Constantius, by Helena, the first wife of 
that Eroperor. Many writers assert that Helena was a native «f Britain; 



death, and he there commenced his bright and auspicious reign ; 
R memorable epoch in the history of Europe at large ! The mili- 
tary events connected with the sway of Constantine in Britain 
•re happily few in number, and are confined to a short-lived 
war, on the borders of the wall, with the Mseat^e, and the Caledo* 
nians, who, from about this time, are generally described under 
tlje names of Piets and Scots. When these contests were termi- 
nated, by the submission of the refractory tribes, a general peace 
prevailed throughout the province for the remainder of Constan- 
tine's long reign. The blessings of this tranquil era were in- 
calculably augmented by the aid which the governing power af- 
forded to the cause of Christianity ; and, through that medium^ 
to an improvement in the morals and manners of the Britons. 
Constantine died on the 22d of May, A. D. 337. 

After the death of this successful rnler, the provinces of the 
empire were divided between his three sons, Constantine, Con- 
stans, and Constantius. Britain, together with Gaul, Spain, and 
part of Germany, became the portion of Constantine, the eldest 
of these princes ; but he was so far dissatisfied with the arrange- 
ment, that he entered on active hostilities, and, in the year 340, 
invaded the territories of his brother Constans, but fell into an 
ambush near Aquileia, and was slain, together with a great part 
of his army. Constans then seized on his dominions, and thus 
obtained tiie government of the whole of the western provinces. 
He passed into Britain in the year 343, for the purpose of chas- 
tising the Scots and J*icts, who had renewed their ancient depre- 
dations to the south of the wall ; and, if the flattering testimony 
of medals might be received as satisfactory evidence, it would 
appear that he inflicted a dreadful and very memorable vengeance 


some supp->sing her to be the daughter of a British King, and others that sh« 
was of a mean origin, and was the mistress of Constantius. Several of thcs* 
wf iters affirm that her illustrious son, Constantine, was also born in Britain ; 
but it may be observed that neither of the above assertions is corroborated 
by the testimony of contemporary authors. See these questions amply dis- 
cussed in Murant's Hist, of Colchester, B. I. p. 28 — Si. 


on the northern tribes. But these passports to fame must be re- 
garded with suspicion, in the latter ages of the empire ; and it is 
observable that Firmicus, who was suflScieutly inclined to notice 
the most attractive points of commendation in regard to this 
Emperor, confines bis encomium to a topic which will appear at 
present little worthy of ardent admiration. In words, to the fol- 
lowing effect, he celebrates the voyage of Constans from Gaul 
to Britain, at a season when the wind might be expected to blow 
hard, and the water to be rough : " In winter (which never had 
been, nor will be done again) your oars triumphed over the swel- 
ling, furious, waves of the British ocean.'' 

Constans, who committed many acts of tyranny, and person- 
ally sank the prey of frivolous pleasures, was murdered on the 
continent, in the year 350, through a conspiracy among his prin- 
cipal officers, with Magnentius, one of their own number, but 
of British extraction, at their head. The western parts of the 
empire, including Britain, submitted to the successful factious 
leader; h\ii Constantius, Emperor of the East, the youn«;est son 
of Constantine the Great, speedily marched to revenge the death 
of his brother. Magnentius was defeated, in a sanguinary en- 
gagement, near Mursa, in Pannonia; and, subsequently, quit- 
ted his life and pretensions, by self-destruction, at Lyons, in the 
month of August, 353. 

The whole of the Roman empire thus fell under the sway o^ 
Constantius, who deputed the administration of affairs in Bri> 
tain to several snccessive governors, or vicars, as they were then 
termed. The only military occurrences of this reign, in which 
the British province was implicated, relate to iociirsions of the 
Scots and Picts. Some formidable irruptions of these people 
took place in the year 360. Julian, termed the Apostate, who 
was afterwards Emperor, was then intrusted with the govern- 
ment of the western parts of the empire. He sent Lupicinus, 
with some well chosen troops, to the assistance of the impe- 
rial army ; and the insurgents, who had plunder for their only 



object, quickly retired ; but had the triumph of securing their 

During the short reign of the Emperor Julian, and that of his 
successor Jovian, the inhabitants of South Britain remained free 
from any serious disturbance; but we now approach the ages in 
which the Roman sway in Britain is seeu gradually declining; 
and the day is not far distant in which that great people volun- 
tarily relinquish the ascendancy which had been so long pre- 
served with wisdom of action, although the unjustifiable motive 
of lust of power appears to have operated as the prevailing incen- 

The circumstances which led to this declension, and ultimate 
fall, of power, are too well known, to require minute notice in 
the preseut page. We have seen that the empire had long been 
found too extensive for a single ruler; and that, like attenuated 
gold, what it obtained in glitter it lost in solidity." — Pressed, 
nearly on all sides, by those whom it had subjugated in its florid 
vigour, the Roman government was no longer able to bestow de- 
liberate attention on this distant province. Its armies iu Bri- 
tain grew restless of control ; the Pranks and Saxons, enemies 
rising into power on the decrepitude of Italy, assailed the shores 
nearest to Gaul, and most exposed to their piracies; while the 
Britons, artfully trained by their conquerors to habits of peace, 
except in such instances as were useful to the supply of the 
Roman levies, were quite unable to defend themselves in the 
slate of allegiance to which they were, probably, well inclined. 
It is matter of surprise that, in this situation of affairs, the 
Roman military iu Britain did not strenuously endeavour to esta- 
blish an independent government. But it appears, from the 
teoour of history, that they refrained from making any serious 
efforts towards the attainment of such an object. 

When Valentinian and his brother Valens ascended the im- 
perial throne, in 364 ; the province of Britain was subject to 
threatening irruptions. On the maritime parts of the south it 
was plundered by the Franks and Saxons; whilst the north was 



oppressed by a more severe visitation. In the latter direction, 
the Scots, Picts, and Attacotti, acqiiirina; fresh ardour from the 
known exigencies of the empire, carried their iucur^ive ravages 
to a greater extent than on any previous occasion ; and not only 
opposed the Romans in the open field, but obtained sonie advan- 
tages, and slew two of their Generals. These ferocious tribes 
continued to plunder the province, with impunity, for tliree 
successive years. The Emperor Valentinian then scut a consi- 
derable army to the relief of South Britain, under the com- 
mand of Tkeodosius, one of the most successful Generals of that 

Theodosius was appointed governor of Britain, in the year 
367; and his conduct in this high office was equally applauded 
by the imperial court aud by the tributary iniiabilants. On his 
arrival he found that the enemy had penetrated as far as London, 
then termed Augusta, and had there seized a great booty and 
many prisoners. He divided his troops into distinct parties; 
aud falling upon tlie northern marauders, thus incumbered with 
spoil, he compelled them to take to flight, and to abandon the 
fruits of their expedition. He then set the prisoners at liberty; 
aud, after restoring the greater part of the redeemed spoil to its 
lawful owners, entered London in just and honourable triumph. 
He now solicited the presence of Civilis, a person of talent and 
integrity; who was accordingly sent, with t!)e authority of 
Prsefecl in Britain, to take charge of the administration of civil 
affairs. Dulcitius, an officer of tried courage, was commissioned, 
nearly at the same time, to assist him in the command of the 
army. It is worthy of observation that many Roman officers 
aud soldiers had joined in the ravages of the northern tribes, 
during the late confused season. The greater number of these, 
however, returned to their duty, on a proclamation being issued 
by the General, promising pardon to all who surrendered within 
a limited time. 

Theodosius took the field early in the succeeding year; and, 
after encountering some opposition, forced the enemy to retire to 

I the 


the north of the wall of Severus. Anxious to restore the Roman 
territory to its ancieut dignity, he pursued the fugitives still 
further, and drove them heyoiid the rampart erected in the reign 
of Antoninus Piusj which fionlier he repaired with considerable 

The remaining acts of this able General Snd wise goveraor, 
were chiefly directed towards the internal regulation of the coun- 
try which he had thus rescued from the devastating hands of its 
northern foes. Under his direction, many fortified places, which 
had sunk into neglect during the security of a Jong peace, were 
icstoi'ed to a defensible character; and he encouraged and as- 
sisted the Provincials in a repair of the numerous towns which 
had experienced damage from tlic late incursions. He, like- 
wise, corrected many abuses in the mode of levying taxes, and 
materially improved the internal polity and condition of the pro- 
vince. Theodosius quilted Britain in the year 369, honoured 
with the approbation of the Emperor, and rewarded by the 
hlessings of the p'eople to whom he was so eminent a bene- 

A profound tranquillity prevailed in Britain for several years 
subsequent to the departure of the above celebrated commander; 
but this happy interval of bloodshed was interrupted by an event 
so disastrous, that the inhabitants ftlt its ill effects through many 
successive ages. — Gratian, the son of Valentinian, ascended 
the imperial throne in the year 375, and admitted to a nominal 
share in the supremacy, his brother, then not more than foor 
er five years of age, under the title of Valentinian the Second. 
But, finding himself unequal to the task of governing the whole 
of the dilated empire, in a period so prolific of difiiculties and 
convulsions, he associated with himself and his puerile coadjutor, 
Theodosius, sou of the General of that name who obtained great re- 
nown in Britain. The exaltation of this officer took place in 379; 
but the measure was so displeasing to the ambitious temper of 
HJaxinitis, a General whose valour was well known in Britain, 
lijutlht latter disdained allegiance, and assumed the purple in this 



island, A. D. 381. Maxiinus bad married the daughter of a 
British chief, and was, in other respects^ so acceptable to the 
natives, that they warmly attached themselves to his cause. 
Their zeal of adherence was soon called into active exercise.~ 
Not contented with the usurped government of a province, Maxi- 
mus aspired to the possession of the vrhole western empire ; and 
he assembled a powerful army for this great struggle. The Bri- 
tish youth flocked to his standard with so much alacrity, that, 
when he laiided his army near the mouth of the Rhine, he is 
emphatically b^aid to have possessed in his ranks the flower and 
strength uf Britain. 

His first efforts were eminently successful. The Emperor 
Gralian was betrayed by his troops, and was slain while seeking^ 
safety in flight. Maximus then declared Victor, (his son by 
the British lady whom he had married) his partner in the impe- 
rial purple; and thus bound the Britons, who now first move 
with distinction in a martial character beneath the Roman stand- 
ard, still more closely to the interests of his family. But the 
prosperity of the usurper and his auxiliaries was only short lived. 
Theodosius, who ruled the eastern part of the empire, hastened 
to the succour of Jiis colleague in the throne ; and Maximus, 
after experiencing two signal defeats, was betrayed by his owa 
veteran soldiers, and put to death by the conqueror. 

The Britons were not present at the two engagements which 
decided the fortune of their chosen leader, having' been sent into 
Gaul, under the conduct of Victor, their youthful countryman. 
But they were speedily attacked, and were defeated witli the 
loss of their General. In this calamitous situation, in a foreiga 
country, exposed to a triumphant enemy, and without ships to 
convey them home, the fugitive adventurers were so fortunate as 
to mefet with a friendly reception in Arroorica, and considerable 
numbers of them settled there. 

The absence of the Romans and their ambitious General, af- 
forded a favourable opportunity to the numerous tribes of free- 
hooters, who were constantly on the alert for depredation. The 

1 2 province 


province was, consequently, assailed by sea and by lan'd. But 
a vigorous administration of affairs under Theodosius, now sole 
Emperor, produced a restoration of tranquillity. 

Theodosius (usually termed the Great) died in the year 395, 
and bequeathed the empire to his two sons, Arcadius and Hono- 
rius'f Ihe western division being allotted to the latter. Each of 
these Princes was young ; and Honorius, who was not more than 
eleven years of age, was consigned by his dying father to the 
care of Stilicho, a man of Vandal origirf, but much favoured by 
the deceased Emperor, to whom he had proved a faithful and able 
officer. Stiliclio, although at length suspected of sinisler ambi- 
fious views, executed his high office, for some time, with strict 
honour. In regard to the military department of his duty, as 
connected with this island, he reinforced the army of Britain, 
and preserved the province from the inroads of the Scots and 
Picts, with much discretion and success. His conduct in this 
particular is warmly praised by his poetical panegyrist, Clau- 

But the time speedily arrived at which the arras of Rome 
proved insufficient for the preservation of the imperial city; and, 
in such a season of imbecility and distress, the distant provinces 
could scarcely entertain a rational hope of succour. The Goths, 
the Vandals, and other barbarous nations, who had served the 
Romans as allies in the late struggles to preserve the consis- 
tency of the enormous empire, perceiving the growing weakness 
of the former masters of the world, aspired, under the conduct of 
Alaric, to the pillage and destruction of Rome itself. 

1 take pleasure in passing unnoticed the political cabals, and 
contests for individual ascendancy, in neglect of the public good, 
amidst which the Roman splendour sank to utter decay. It is 
^uite unnecessary to specify, by name, the adventurers who, in 


» Claud, in laud. Slil. See the verses quoted in the Introducliuato Cam- 
(Sen's nTiti.r.i'ia, Article Romans in Urituin ; in Heiirv's History of Eri- 
faiii, &c. «ku 


^aick and fragile succession, assumed the purple ; except as to a 
lew instances connected with the clircnological order of events in 
Britain, and in which the interests of the inhabitants were imme- 
diately implicated. The age of heroic enterprise in the Roman 
province of Britain was now extinct; and the mere antiquary, 
and the philosophical student of history, look with equal indif- 
ference on Emperors who achieved no victories to be recorded by 
medals, and performed no action illustrative of excellence in 
talent or moral virtue. 

Although opposed by many competitors in different parts of 
his vast dominious, Honorius remained invested with the chief 
authority until his decease in the year 423. The dangers to 
■which Rome was exposed by the approach of the barbarians, led 
to the recal of the additional forces which had been sent into 
Britain by direction of Stilicho; and this unavoidable measure 
was followed by an irruption of the Scots and Picts. The 
Roman soldiers stationed in this island, disdainful of allegiance 
to a court which could not render them assistance, now elected 
as Emperor an officer termed Marcus. But this shadowy 
monarch soon fell, through the agency of the very faction to 
which he owed his elevation ; and the soldiery then invested an 
officer named Gratian with the same dangerous honours. Gra- 
tian possessed a nominal reign in Britain for about four months 
of the year 408. He was then deposed and murdered ; and the 
command of the army, together with the imperial purple, was 
bestowed, by a military election, on Constantinc, who is said 
to have been chosen on account of his affinity of name with Con- 
stantine the Great. 

This Constantine, who was elected Emperor by the Roman 
army in Britain appears to have been a man of sufficient cou- 
rage, and possessed of an enterprising spirit. lie recruited 
his army with the most hardy of the British jouth, whom he 
Kpeedily trained to the exercise of arms. But, instead of lead-, 
ing his restless forces against the Scots and Picts, a measuret 
which would have found them full employment, and might have, 

I 3 «ltimate|y. 


ultimately secured to him tlie possession of imperial sway in 
Britain, he conducted them into Gaul, where he contended for the 
pernicious trophy of unbounded dominion. His efforts were, for a 
short time, attended with success; butthe delusive commencement 
of his enterprise was followed by quick and fatal reverses. He was 
opposed by his own General, Gerontitis ; and his army was 
broken, and himself captured and put to death, in the year 41 ] . 

We are now arrived at a period of the British annals which 
lias afforded a subject for some historical scepticism, and critical 
discussion. The narration of events connected with the Roman 
sway in Britain has chiefly depended, through several of the 
preceding sections, on the testimony of Zosimus. But we are 
now forsaken by that guide; and the remaining particulars, re- 
lating to the history of this island, until the era of the Saxon 
invasion, rely on authorities which are far from conveying entire 
satisfaction, as they are not of a contemporary date. The most 
ancient historiographer of this period is Gildas, who wrote in the 
sixth century. The venerable Bede gives extracts of his work; 
and labours, but without success, to illustrate it by chronologic 
cal reduction. Nennius, who wrote in the seventh century, af- 
fords little that is acceptable; and the production of Geoffrey 
has been styled by some a British romance, and was considered 
as such, even by the critics of an age much less disposed to 
scepticism in history than the present. 

The authority of such writers is, certainly, of «o doubtful a 
nature as to demand great severity of inquisition ; but it has 
been deem«d acceptable by many modern historians, and J, there- 
fore, present a succinct narration, founded on the testimony of 
Gildas and Bede; but shall afterwards notice the critical remarks 
of a recent very intelligent author. 

According to the statement of the former annalists, the Bri- 
lish province, weakened at every point, now returned to the 
obedience of the Emperor Honorius. Some troops were sent 
from Rome, in the succeeding year, for a reinstatement of good 
order: but they were speedily recalled, to assist in defending^ 



the interior of Uie empire against its barbarous assailants; and 
the Scots and Picts, who foresaw the fall of South Britain, and 
waited with eagerness to seize on the riclies of its cultivated 
lands and ntinicrous buildings, then rushed forwards, under the 
hope of meeting with an easy prey. But Romanized Britain 
was not yet weakened to extremity. Although deprive<l of a 
regular army, the Roman veterans who were connected with the 
islanders by intermarriage, by the possession of estate, and by 
habits of long residence, were so numerous, and so well dis- 
posed to fight in defence of their homes and property, that a for- 
midable stand waii made against the invaders; and they were 
ultimately repulsed, with loss. 

These Roman settlers appear to have derived much assistance 
from the South Britons, in the opposition thus successfully made 
to the advance of tiie northern tribes. But it had been the uni- 
form policy of the Romans to remove, as recruits of their armies 
ui distant provinces, such of the tributaries as they trained to 
the use of arms; and it must be recollected that Britain had 
lately been drained of extraordinary numbers of its youth, by the 
foreign expeditions of the usurpers, Maximus and Constantine. 
The native population was, titcrefore, incapable of vigorous and 
lasting resistance. The northern enemies, on the contrary, 
were in possession of a youthful military power, bred to war as a 
trade, and which had never passed beneath the yoke of a con> 
queror. The irruptions of these hardy and necessitous warriors 
were repeated through several successive years; and the Roman 
government was so far from being able to render assistance, that 
the Emperor Honorius resigned all claim to the allegiance of the 
provincials, and left them to defend their own cause. The 
greater part of the British-Romans, convinced of their want of 
strength to preserve their possessions in tranquillity, now relin- 
quished their lands; and, carrying with them their money and 
most valuable moveables, repaired to the continent. 

Thus abandoned even by the domiciliated portion of their con- 
querors, and left without either civil or military government, 

14 tbe 


the Britons are described as constituting;^, at this juncture, a timid, 
disorderly multitude, ready to become an easy prey to the first 
bold invader. The Scots and Plots, as might be expected, took 
advantage oF their helpless situation; aud, passing the Firths 
of Forth and Clyde, plundered the contiguous districts. In this 
melancholy condition, the Britons supplicated assistance of Rome ; 
and the Emperor Honorius, now more at leisure, in consequence 
of some successes over the Goths, and probably calculating on the 
benefits to be derived from future levies of recruits, if the islanders 
remained tributary, acceded to their petition, and sent a legion 
to their aid. The Roman arms were again victorious on the 
theatre of former exploit. The Scots and Picts were compelled 
to retire with precipitation and great loss. The triumphant legion 
having thus honourably performed its allotted task, returned to 
the continent before the expiration of the year in which it eD'- 
tered Britain ;— the year 416. 

The departure of the veterans was the signal for fresh com- 
motions. Eager for spoil, the tribes to the north of Antoninus's 
wall again passed the boundary, penetrated the province, and 
spread the miseries of sword and fire in their progress. Inca- 
pable of self defence, the Britons, as before, looked for succour 
to the head of the empire. The embassadors who now approach- 
ed the Emperor are said to have appeared before him with rent 
garments, and other voluntary tokens of humiliation and dis- 
tress. Their intreaties met with attention, and a legion was 
sent to the aid of South Britain, under the command of Gallio of 

It was again proved that the tribes of the north, so formidable 
to the South Brilons in these ages, were unable to cope with the 
Roman veterans. Their straggling, predatory bands were de- 
, feated with great slaughter; and the survivors fled to their woods 
aud mountainous fastnesses, in dismay. After clearing the south 
from these ferocious invaders, the legion remained nearly two 
years in Britain, for the purpose of contributing, by instruction 



and active assistance, all practicable aid to the future security of 
the inhabitants. 

In pursuit of this object, Gallio, convinced that the wall of 
Antoninus was an insufficient barrier, and that a diminution of 
territory must -be desirable to a weak people, directed that th« 
whole of Valentia (or the space between the walls) should be re- 
signed to the northern nations. The wall of Severus he ordered 
to be thoroughly repaired, with stone ; and this work was per- 
formed by the united labours of the legion and the Britons of the 
south. Having completed the defensible state of the frontier in 
this direction, he built many forts, and towers of observation, on 
the coasts towards the south ; as that part of the island was often 
infested by the piratical visits of the Franks and Saxons. He 
then impressed on the Britons, so long the tributaries of Rome, 
and still her willing adherents, a knowledge of the military tac- 
tics which had enabled a single legion to render them efficient 
assistance; and, having performed these friendly offices, he ex- 
horted them to exert the courage of free men, and to rely, as 
such, on their own efforts, since no further assistance could bo 
expected from the distracted government of their former masters. 

In the leading particulars oi the above narration, Gildas and 
Bede are followed by Camden, and by several modern writers, 
amongst whom may be noticed Dr. Henry; but Mr. Turner, in 
the history of the Anglo-Saxons, dissents from the propriety of 
an appeal to the " querulous" Gildas, and takes a very different 
view of the affairs of this important era. According to Mr. 
Turner, the Britons were so far from renewing a timid allegiance 
to Honorius, after the death of Constanline, that, " in this ex- 
tremity, they displayed a magnanimous character; they remem- 
bered the ancient independence of the island, and their brave 
ancestors, who still lived ennobled in the verses of their bards ; 
they armed themselves, threw off" the foreign yoke, deposed the 
imperial magistrates, proclaimed their insular independence, and, 
with the successful valour of youthful liberty and endangered 
existence, they drove the fierce invaders" (barbarians, stimu- 


lated to the invasion of Gaul and Britain by tUe traitorous Geron^ 
tius,) " from their cities. 

" Thus," continues Mr. Turner, " the authentic history from 
407, is, that the barbarians, excited by Gerontius, burst in ter- 
ror upon Gaul and Britain ; that Constantine could give no help, 
because his troops were in Spain ; that Honorius could send nooe, 
because Alaric was overpowering Italy ; that the Britons, thus 
abandoned, armed themselves, declared their country indepen- 
dent, and drove the barbaric invaders from their cities ; that 
Honorius sent letters to the British states, exhorting them to 
protect themselves ; and that the Romans never again recovered 
the possession of the island."* 

It is justly noticed by the above historian, that the narrative 
of Gildas consists cliiefly of declamation, and that the declaimer 
is less entitled to notice as he has stated nothing concerning the 
Emperors, or regular succession of transactions, after Maximus; 
but, as the operating point of his own remarks is founded on in- 
dividual opinion, ideas of a contrary tendency may, perhaps, arise 
in the mind of some readers. 

Mr. Turner appears to consider it as granted that the Britons 
were desirous of severing their country from a connexion with 
Rome, although he admits that they had, in times very briefly, 
precedent, supplicated succourfrom the empire; and had, indeed, 
been accustomed to rely for defence on its soldiers. Such a re- 
liance was, in truth, almost unavoidalde, when we remember 
that the policy of the Romans denied military exercise to all pro- 
vincials, except such as they wished to attach to the legions oi 
the empire on foreign service. 

It is very probable that the taxes exacted by the Romans were 
oppressively heavy ; and it is certainly natural for a people pos- 
sessed of energetic habits, and conscious of sufficient resources, 
to aspire after, and to seek, independence on foreign control. 
Bat it does not distinctly appear that the South Britons were 


• Turner's Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol.1, p. 77. 


actuated by so noble an energy ; and, if destitute of a thirst after 
liberty, from an inspiriting sense of the moral value of that bless- 
ing, they were likely, in common prudence, to consider indepen- 
dence as a source of national danger, rather than a public advan- 
tage. Harassed by the Saxons, the Francs, and other piratical 
invaders ; and convinced, by long experience, of the evils to be 
apprehended from the ferocious incursions of the Scots and Picts; 
a people trained to habits of peace would, politically, court the 
aid of some warlike, patronising state. 

Such was, indubitably, the conduct of the Britons at this trying 
period. It is not denied that they supplicated assistance from 
Rome; and, in the absence of any positive proof to the contrary, 
it will, perhaps, be deemed likely that they obtained it, and that 
they were greatly indebted to the experienced troops of the em- 
pire for the expulsion of their barbarous foes. There had pre- 
viously occurred many favourable opportunities, from the weak- 
ness of the Roman power in Britain, if the inhabitants had been 
desirous of throwing off that " yoke," which, in the effeminacy 
of their paciBc habits, they appear to have deemed necessary for 
their safety. 

In regard to that " deposition of the imperial magistrates," 
which is noticed by Mr. Turner, it must be recollected that these 
officers were appointed by Constantine; and that the removal of 
them was, therefore, far from indicating a determination not to 
acknowledge allegiance to the lawful Emperor. It does not ap- 
pear that we have any direct evidence of the defection of the 
Britons; and, considering their peaceful habits; their dangerous 
situation, in regard to surrounding warlike and hostile nations; 
and their various motives for desiring a continued connexion with 
a people supposed to be capable of affording protection, and to 
whom they were attached from ties of intermarriage, and from a 
long nurtured similarity of customs ; the reader will, probably, con- 
cJude that they were abandoned to their affliction, rather than 
that they seceded in triumph. 

I must not, however, quit a subject on which I differ in opinion 



with «o respectable an authority as the historian of the Anglo- 
Saxons, without observing that Mr. Turner, in a subsequent 
chapter, allows it to be possible that the statement of Gildas is 
correct, if applied, not to South Britain at large, but merely to 
particular districts. The following are the words in which he 
admits this possibility: — "We can conceive, that when the 
strength of the conntry was not directed to its protection, bnt 
was wasted in civil conflicts, the hostilities of the Picts and 
Scots may have met with much success ; not opposed by the 
force of the whole island, but by the local power of the particular 
civitas, or district invaded, they may have defeated the opposi- 
tion, and desolated the land of the northern borders : with equal 
success, from the same cause, the western regions of Britain may 
have been plundered by the Scots, and the southern by the 
Saxons. Some of the maritime states, abandoned by their more 
powerful countrymen, may have sought the aid of iEtins, as 
they afterwards accepted that of the Saxons; bat we think the 
account of Gildas applicable only to particular districts, and not 
to the whole island."* 

It is uniformly supposed^ by writers best entitled to credit, 
that the Romans finally quitted Britain in the year of the Chris- 
tian sera 446; which was five hundred and one years after their 
first descent upon the island, and four hundred and three years 
after their first settlement in the country. f 

From the above compendious view of the military operations 
of the Romans in Britain, it will appear that their greatest diffi- 
culties in effecting a seltlemeni in this island, occurred in the 
first stages of their ambitious enterprise. And, from this circum- 
stance, it may be justly inferred, that their ultimate success de- 
pended more on the ^efiforts of mind than oil the exercise of the 


. • Turner's Hist, of ibe Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p. 86. 
+ See some conclusive remarks on this subject in Whitakcr's History of 
Manchester, 4to. edit. Vol. II.; and Horsley's Britannia Romana, p. 7a. 

KOMAN divisions of BRITAIN. 1Q5 

It is not expedient to enter, in this place, on the forms and 
uinute regulations of the government which the Romans esta- 
blished in Britain; but it may be observed, that the leading 
principle in their disposal of power throughout the provinces, as 
in the parent-state, consisted in a union of the civil and military 
authorities under one great executive head. 

The Political Divisions of the Roman territories in Britaia 
demand more explicit notice.* 

In the early steps of the Roman ascendancy in Britain, the 
subdued parts were simply divided by the conquerors into two 
districts, termed the Upper and the Lower. Antiquarian writers 
(for to that class of authors the discussion of this subject is now 
confined) differ as to the portions of the island comprehended in 
those terms. Camden considers the higher part of Britain to 
signify the southern, and the lower the northern; supposing the 
line of demarkation to lie about the Humber, or Mersey. Mr. 
Horsley reverses this plan, on the authority of Caesar, who ex- 
pressly calls the southern the lower. Mr. Whitaker, in contra- 
diction to both, asserts that " the true division is into eastern and 
western, tlie legions at Caerleon and Chester being placed by 
Dio in the higher Britain, and that at York in the lower ; and Pliny 
f\a.ciu^ Ireland super Britanniam. Roman Britain," Mr. Whit- 
aker further observes, " is naturally broken into east and west; 
a chain of hills running from the highlands of Scotland, and Join- 
ing to the peak of Derby, the moorlands of Staffordshire, Edge- 
bill in Warwickshire, and the Chillernin Buckinghamshire."-f 

I leave unnoticed the periods at which subdivisions occurred, 
and the policy which dictated them; and present a statement 
of the districts into which Britain was allotted by the Romans, 
when in the plenitude of their power, in respect to this island. 

Britain, when the Romans attained their utmost landmark of 


• Allusions to these are of frequent occurrence, in such pages of the 
" Beauties of Kiigland and Wales," m treat ol the general histuij of parti- 
cular district*, or counties. 

t Hist, of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 98. (note.) 


territory, was divided into six provinces; but one of these (en- 
titled Vespasiana) consisted of districts beyond the rampart of 
Antoninus, and was held by an uncertain tenure, on account of 
the refractory dispositions of the northern tribes. It was finally 
relinquished by Caracalla. 

Roman- Britain, as to the parts which were subject to the en- 
tire ascendant of the Romans, and were contentedly influenced by 
their laws, and pervaded by their customs, was divided into five 
provinces^ which were thus named : 

Britannia Piuma. 

Britannia Secunda, 

Flavia (ok Flavia C«sariensis.) 

Maxima (or Maxima C/esakiensis.) 


Britannia Prima comprehended all the country that lies to the 
south of the Thames, to the east of the Severn, and to the south 
of a line drawn from Cricklade, or its vicinity, upon the one side, 
to Berkeley, or its neighbourhood, on the other; aud included, 
according to Mr. Whitaker, "eleven nations of the Britons, and 
contained about thirty-six stations/'* — The following English 
counties were comprised in this division of Roman-Britain: 
Kent; Sussex; Surrey; Berks; Hants; Wilts; Dorset; Somer- 
set; Devon; and Cornwall. 

Britannia Secunda consisted of the country beyond, or to the 
west, of the rivers Severn aud Dee ; aud contained three tribes 
of the Britons, and about tweuty stations.f The counties of 
Hereford and Monmouth, and the whole of Cambria, or North 
and South Wales, were comprehended in this province. 

flavia, or Flavia Ccesariensis, comprised all the central 


• Hist, of Mniicbester, Vol. I. p. 9'2. 
t For the number of original inbcs and ilations, presumed to have been in- 
cluded in this province, I am indebted, as in the former instance, to Mr. 
WbitaLer, whose statements ate founded on those of Richard of Cirencester* 


regions of the island, being limited by the two above named pro- 
vinces on the south and west, and by the rivers H umber, Don, 
and Mersey, upon the north. It included, according to the his- 
torian of Manchester, about eight tribes, and fifty stations. The 
great extent of this province is best explained by an enumeration 
of the counties inlo which it is now divided : — Middlesex ; Essex ; 
Suff«Ik ; Norfolk; Cambridge; Huntingdon; Northampton; 
Bedford; Herts; Buckingham; Oxford; Gloucester; Warwick; 
Worcester; Stafford; Sliropshire; Cheshire; Derby; Notting- 
ham; Lincoln; Rutland; and Leicester. 

Maxima, (or Maxima Caesariensis) was bounded by the two 
seas on the east and west; by the wall of Severus on the north ; 
and by the rivers Humber, Don, and Mersey, on the south. It 
comprised three tribes, and about thirty stations, besides the line 
of forts at the wall. — Maxima is now divided into the counties 
of Lancaster; York ; Durham ; Westmoreland ; and Cumber- 

Valentia comprehendeil the whole of the country between the 
two walls, and contained five tribes, with ten stations. The only 
parts of the province of Valentia that require notice, in a topo- 
graphical survey of England and Wales, are the large and fine 
district now denominated Northumberland, and a small portion 
of Cumberland. 

The TOWNS established by the Romans in Britain were divided 
into four classes : Municipal; Colonial; towns under the Latian 
late; and Stipendiary towns. 

The Municipium ranked highest in the scale of civil privi- 
leges, and was, indeed, favoured with a degree of freedom not 
to be expected in the city of a conquered country, and which was 
bestowed with a cautious hand, but with an exquisite refinement 
of policy. Tile constituent character of this class of settlements 
is satisfactorily expressed in the following excerpt: — "Municipia 
were towns whose inhabitants possessed, ic general, all the 
rights of Roman citizens, except those which could not be en- 
joyed without an actual residence at Rome. They followed their 
own lavs and customs, and had the option of adopting or reject- 


tag those of Rome/'* It will be readily supposed that Muni* 
oipia were chiefly occupied by Roinaa inhabitants. Two cities 
of this description are mentioned by Richard: Verulamium (St. 
Alban's) and Eburacum (York.) 

It was the good policy of the Romans, to plant colonies in 
every country successfully visited by their arras. These settle- 
ments were of different kinds, each distinct class being^ entitled 
to dissimilar rights and privileges ; but we are destitute of infor- 
mation concerning the rank occupied by those of our own country. 
In regard to the general character, and beneficial tendency, of 
such establishments, it has been observed, " that the soldiers 
were thereby rendered more eager to make couquests, of which 
they hoped to enjoy a share : the veterans were at once rewarded 
for their past services at a very small expence, and engaged to 
perform new services in defence of the state^ in order to preserve 
their own properties: the city of Rome, and other cities of Italy, 
were relieved from time to time of their superfluous inhabitants, 
who were dangerous at home but useful in the colonies: the 
Roman language, laws, manners, and arts, were introduced into 
the conquered countries, which were thereby improved and 
adorned, as well as secured and defended."f 

The first Roman colony in Britain, was fixed by Claudius at 
Camulodunum (Colchester;) and eight others were subsequently 
planted, at Richborough, London, Gloucester, Bath, Caerleon, 
Cambridge, Lincoln, and Chester. It will be noticed that bodies 
of colonized soldiery were, thus, carefully placed along the eastera 
and western sides of the island. 

Ten cities under the Lutian law are named by Richard of 
Cirencester. In the valuable commentary on the work of Richard, 
it is observed, that " the Latian law consisted of the privileges 
granted to the ancient inhabitants of Latium. These are not 
t distinctly 

• Rosini Antiq. llom. b. x. c. 23. as quoted in Hatcher'* edition of the 
liinerary, &c. of Richard of Cirencester. 

+ Heury'i Hist of Britain, Vol. I. p. 34i. 


distinctly kuowu; bat appear principally to have been the right 
of following their own laws, an exemption from the edicts of the 
Roman Praetor, and the option of adopting the laws and customs 
of Rome."* 

The ten cities which are said by Richard to have been favoured 
with the communication of the Jus Latii, are Dumomagus 
(Castor on Neri) Cataractonis (Catleric) Cambodunum (Slack) 
Coccium (Blackrode) Lngubalia (Carlisle) Ptorotone (Burg- 
head) Victoria (Dealgin Ross) Theodosia (Dumbarton) Corinum 
(Cirencester) Sorbiodunum (Old Sarum.) 

Stipendiary toums were such as paid their taxes in money, iii 
contradistinction from those which gave a certain portion of the 
produce of the soil, and were called Vectigales.\ Richard enu- 
merates twelve stipendiary towns: Venta Silurum (Caerwent) 
Venta Betgarum (Winchester) Venta Icenorum (Castor, near 
Norwich) Segontium (Caer Segont) Mariduniim (Caermarthen) 
Rata; (Leicester) Cantiopolis (Canterbury) Durinum (Dorches- 
ter) Jsca (Exeter) Bremenium (Riechester, Northumberland) 
Fi/jc/owum (possibly Egbuiy Camp, Hants) Durobrivce (Ro- 

Such were the classes into which the Romans divided their 
towns in Britain; and the thirty-three instances of various kinds 
given above, are mentioned by Riciiard of Cirencester, as those 
which were most celebrated and conspicuous. But he informs u» 
that the total number of important towns in Romanized Britain, 
was not less than ninety-two; and there is reason to believe that 
it was indeed much greater. Mr. Whitaker asserts that *• Bri- 
- tain, from the southern sea to the firths of Forth and Cluyd, at 
the close of the first century, possessed a hundred and forty 
towns in all."t Richard expressly observes that he has comme- 
morated only such as were greatly distinguished. 

K The 

• Hatcher's edif . of Richard of Cirencester, p. 68. apud Rosini. 

^ Rosini, as quoted iu the comnieutary on Richard ut Cueuceaier, p. 69. 

$ Uhu «r Manciic-tcr, Vol. I. p. 392. 


The progressive advantages derived by the Britons, from this 
intermixture of population with their polished invaders, are un- 
questionable, and truly splendid; although, as a nation, they 
were subject td some humiliation and to many penalties. We 
view, indeed, the progress of mind in every step of the conquer- 
ing legions; and, whilst contemplating so attractive a picture, 
subjugation itself loses all deformity of aspect. 

ln^;pirited by the lessons of Roman industry, the inhabitants 
even of deep inland districts now placed their neglected soil under 
the operation of the plough; and so successful were the efforts 
of agricultural labour, that Britain soon exported, annually, 
large quantities of corn, and assisted greatly in supplying with 
grain the Roman armies on the continent. 

The manufacturing arts accompanied the cultivation of the Bri- 
tish soil; and commerce received a new and powerful impulse. 
Fresh ports were opened; and the Briton, aroused from the 
slumber of sylvan inactivity, was instructed in the natural wealth 
and mercantile capacities of his country. 

Induced, by precept and example, to prefer social interchange 
to sullen and ferocious seclusion, he quitted by slow degrees his 
gloomy embowered retreat, and entered on the joys and confi- 
dence of busy congregation. The city arose on the site of dark 
woodland hats; and the Briton was courted, even by his con- 
querors, to become its inmate. 

The motive which suggested this persuasion towards urbanity, 
might be merely political and selfish; but its instruments of 
action were noble, for they consisted in a communication of such 
arts as dignify life, and render society desirable, by exhibiting; 
its courtesies. 

The Roman language, and its stores of literary treasure, were 
imparted to the rude natives of Britain with sedulous care; and 
thus, with an abruptness almost unprecedented in the annals of 
nations, a profound ignorance of letters received, at once, the 
illumination of the highest efforts of philosophy and correct taste. 
With the literature of Italy was introduced a relish for the elegant 



indolence of the portico and the bath ; a fondness for delicate at- 
tire; and a love of those social parties in which eloquence, clas- 
sical learning, and the graces of personal deportment, obtained 
opportunities of exercise and distinction. 

A transition so speedy resembles the change of scenery in his- 
trionic exhibition. The Britons, indeed, by their quick adop- 
tion of the refined notions of their conquerors, would appear to 
have avoided the tedious process of many stages usual with the 
cultivation of the human mind ; and to have passed, at once, 
from the gloom of barbarous life to a familiarity with that standard 
mass of lettered intelligence, which forms the proudest acquisi- 
tion of the scholar at the present day. 

These rapid improvements in art and science, were necessarily 
productive of a striking change in the general face of the coun- 
try. Large tracts were cleared of their unprofitable burthen of 
thickly matted trees; and the increasing towns and villages were 
rendered easy of communication by lines of solid road, formed in 
attention to the principle of those great military highways, which, 
under the guidance of the Romans, intersected the island in vari- 
ous directions, and which will shortly meet with particular notice, 
as the most distinguished vestiges of this important era. It will 
be readily supposed that tlie domestic architecture iutroduced by 
the Romans communicated hints for improvement in the British 
style of building ; whilst public edifices for legislative purposes 
now first adorned the cities of the Britons. 

With the familiar customs of the Romans was adopted, by a 
great part of the conquered inhabitants of this island, their sys- 
tem uf theology ; and the vast circular temple, placed deeply in 
the mysterious sanctity of thick woods, was now abandoned for 
temples of hewn slone, situated in the midst of towns, and deco- 
rated with sculptured devices. This first remove from an ex- 
treme rudeness of divine worship, was quickly succeeded by the 
introduction of Christianity. The enlightening beams of this 
beneficent religion were communicated to Britain, according to 
the opinions of those who have most attentively considered the 

K 2 Hubject. 


subject, before the close of the first century. Their difTusion, 
however, was gradual ; and the poverty of the early Christians 
debarred them from adorning the country with edifices propor- 
tioned in splendour to their religious zeal. The chief, or, per- 
haps, the only tangible religious relics of this €ra, which have 
descended to the present day, are connected with the votive piety 
of heathen Ronie. 


Roman stations, and camps of various kinds. — Inde- 
pendant of a consideration of fheir roads, the most important 


* The contents of the roap whicii accompanies this section of our work, ar« 
briefly explained by a tabU of rtferetKts. In that table it is shewn that eacb 
of the Roman roads menliuned in the Itinerary of Richatd of Cirencester, 
together with numerous recent discoveries of roads not noticed cither by 
Richard or Antonine, are laid down, and expressed by lines of a different 
character and colour. A reference is, also, afforded to such Stations as 
are mentioned by Richard ; and to many stations, and camps, not noticed by 
that useful writer. The whole is the result of actual investigation, chiefly 
made by the Rev. TIraraas Leman, to whom this work is indebted for a con- 
tribution of the original drawing, containing such discoveries as have beea 
made since the appearance of Mr. Hatcher's edition of Richard of Ciren- 

It is confidently presumed that a satisfactory view is thus presented of sack 
vestiges of Romanized Britain, as have been ascertained to exist, at tlie pre- 
sent day, by positive local examination. 

In addition to the explanation contained in the table of reference, it is 
necessary to present an enumeration of the stations laid down in the map j 
and to attach to each its Roman name, according to the opinion of the anti- 
quary by whoi9 the design for the map is contributed. 

I first enumerate the stations mentioned by Ricliard of Cirencester ; and 
•ubscquently, present an enumeration of such stations and camps as are not 
mentioned by Richard; — prefixing to each the figure by which it is corres- 
pondently denoted i« the body of the map. But it will be observed (as is 
explained in the table of reference) that the stations mentioned by Richard 
are uiarkcd, in the m^y, y<kli Italic fif;ure ; whilst those not mentioned by 




T«itigea of the Romans consist in the remains of their castrame- 
tatioQs, which are seen in many parts of this island, and cariously 

K 3 vary 

Richard (and to which, in the following list, are prefixed Roman characters,) 
'e designated, in the map, bj Upright, or Print figures. The last mentioned 
'^ classed in counties, ranged alphabetically, in attention to the plan 
i in describing counties in the Beauties of England and Wales. 

Stations mendoned by Richard of Cirencester, 

upis, Richborovgh 
, Vernum, Canterbury 

tevuro, Ospring 
■ iriva;, Rochester 
'ium, Ltmdnn 
las, Brockley hill 
ium, Verulatn 
anae, Dunstafde 
im, near Fenny Strat- 

n, Towcester 
aria, Bnrntwallt 
• ntiuro, near Lilbum 
Benonis, High Cross 
Vlanduessedum, Manctter 
btocctuni, Wall 
i'ennocrucium, on the Peak 
Uxaconiuni, Red hill, Okenyate 
i Uriconiuro, Wroieter 
19 Banchoriuro, Bunchor 
80 De»a, Cheiter 
21 Varis, near Pont Ryffln 
a Conoviuro, Caer Hun 
2S Segontiura, Caer Segoiit 
i4i Hereri Mons, Tommen Y Mut 

25 Mediolanum, Clawdd Goch 

26 Rutunium, Rowton 

27 Durositum, near Rumford 

28 Caesaromagus, near Chelmsford 

29 Canonium, near Ktlvtdon 
50 Ciroulodunura, Colchester 

31 Sturius Amnis, on the Steur 

32 Cambretonium 
S3 Sitomagus 

34 Venta Cenom, Castor near Nor- 


35 Camboricum, Cambridge 

36 Durolispons, Godmanchester 

37 Duntomagus, Castor 
3% Isinnis, Ancuster 

39 Lindiini, Lincoln 

40 Argolicura, Litilebormtgh 

41 Danuni, Dtmcastrr 

42 LegioUum, Castleford 

43 Eburacum, York 

44 Isurium, Aldboroitgk 

45 Cattaracton, Catterici 

46 Ad Tisara, Pierce Bridge 

47 Viuovium, Binchester 

48 Epiacum, Lauchester 

49 Ad Murum, Haltoii Chester 

50 Alaunu Amnis, on the Coquet 

51 Tueda Flumen, on the Tuctd 

52 Ad Vallum, The Wall 

53 Curia 

54 Ad fines, Chew Green 

55 Brenienium, Riechester 

56 Corstopituro, Corbrtdge 

57 Vindomora, Ebchester 

58 Derventio, near Stamford bridge 

59 Delgovicia 

60 Preturium, Flamborovgh hetd 

61 CalcMfia, 



vary iu strength, and care of constructioiv, from the temporary 
earth-work thrown up iu baste, and perhaps within sight of Ih* 


61 Calcaria, Tadcasttr 
69, Canibodunam, Slack 
6S I^Iancuiiium, ilatichetter 

64 Fines Maxims et Flavis, 5(rrf- 


65 Condate, Kinderton 

66 Portus Sistuntiorura, FreckUton 

67 Rerigoniuin, Ribchester 

68 A 1 pes Peninos, Bur reus 

69 Alicana, llkley 

70 Lataris, Bowes 

7 1 Vataris, Brough 

71 Brovonacis, Kirby TTiur 

73 Vorreda, Plimpton Wall 

74 Luguballia, Carllile 

75 Trimontium, Birrenswori hill 

76 Gadanica 

77 Corium 

18 Alauna, K'jer 

79 Lindiini, Ardech 

80 Vittoria, Dealgin Ross 

81 Ad Hiernam, Slrageth 

Q2 Orrea, on the Toy above Perth 
8S Ad Taviim, near Invergowrie 

84 Ad i¥l:iicani, Brechin on South 


85 Ad Tinam, ForJun 

B*? Devana, Norman Dyics 

87 Ad Itiinam, Clentmailin on the 


88 Ad Montem Grampiiim, near 

Knock hill 

89 Ad Selinani, on tie CvUen, near 

fO Tuessis, on the Spty, near Eellie 
91 Ptorotoiic, Burgh head 

92 Varis, Fores 

93 Ad Tuessim, CrondaU im Spey 

94 Taniea, Braemar caitle 

95 — — Barra castle on lla 

96 In Medio, Inchstuthill 

97 Brocdvinocis, Brougham 

98 Ad Alaunam, Lancaster 

99 Cocciura, Blackrode 

100 Mediolanuni, Chestertntt 

101 Salinae, Droitwick 

102 GlevuiH, Gloucester 

103 Corinura, Cirencester 

104 Aqiite Sulis, Bath 

105 Ad Aquas, probably Wells 

106 Ad TJxellara, probably Bridge- 


107 Isca, Exeter 

108 Ad Abonan), Bitton 

109 Ad Sabrinani, Sea Mills 

1 10 Statio Trajectus, Severn side 
I'll Venta. SiluTum, Caer went 
112 Isca Coloiiia, Caerierwi 

1 IS Tibia Amnis, on tht Taaf 

114 Bovium, Ewennt/ 

115 Nidum, Neath 

1 16 Leucarum, perhaps Lwghor 

117 Ad Vigesimiira, Castle Flemish 

1 18 Ad Menapiam, St. David's 

119 Yeflucio, ^High/eld near Sandy 


120 Ctfnetio, Fully farm, near Marl- 


121 Spina;, Spene 

192 CnWcha, Silchesitr 
1:^3 Bibrncte 
lv4 Bultruui, Usk 

}?5 Gobanniura, 



«nemy, to the regular station, guarded by walls which have, ia 
souae instances, proved triumphant over the assault of more than 

K 4 sixteen 

125 Gobannium, Abergavenny 

126 Magna, Kentchener 

127 Branogenium, near Lentwar</inff 

128 Blestium, Mmimoulh 

129 Sariconiuiu, Berry hill 

130 Ad Antunain, on the Avon 

131 Alauna, AlceUer 

132 Chesterton 

153 Ratis, Leicester 

134 Venromeutunj, Willoughhy 

135 MargiduHum, East Bridgeford 

136 Ad Pontem, near Thorpe 

137 Crococolaiia, Brtigh 

1S8 Vindooiis, near ■$(. Alary Bournt 

139 Venta Belgarum, Winchester 

140 Ad Lapideni, Stoueham 

1-11 Clausentuni> £itteni,near<SoulA- 

142 Portus Magnus, Portchesttr 

143 Regnum, Chichester 

144 Ad Decimuin, on the Arun 
146 Anderida Portus, Pevensey 
146 Ad Lemanum. on the Bother 
347 Lemanianus Portus, Lymne 

148 Dubrae, Dover 

149 Regulbium, Reculver 

150 Madus, on the Medvay 

151 Vagnaca, Barkfieldt in South- 


152 Novioniagus, Boluood hill 







Brige, near Broughton 
Sorbiodunum, Old Sarun 
Venta Geiadia, Guuage Cout 

Durnovaria, Dorchester 
MoridunuiD, Seaton 
Durius Amnis, on the Dart 
Tamara, on the Tamair 
Voluba, on the Fowey 
Coenia, on the Fal 
Sjlva Anderida, East Bourne 
Ad Fines, Brougham 
In Medio 

Ad Abum. Winterton 
Ad Petuarian, Brtugh 
Ad Fines, Ttmple Brough on the 

Tapton hiU, near Cket- 


• near Penkridge 
Derventio, Little Chester 
Ad Trivouain, Berry farm in 

Brinavis, Black Ground near 

Chipping Norton 
Mha. Castra, Bicester, Oxford* 

Dorocina, Dorchester, Oxford- 

Tame»is, on the Thames 

Stations and Camps, not mentioned by Richard of Cirencester, 


I Sandj 


II Lawrence Waltham 

III Boundabout, near Bagshot 

Bucki nghamsh ire. 

IV Chipping Wjcorabe 


V Shelfotd 



sixteen centuries. — The remains of these places of defence are of 
such high antiquarian interest, and are so frequently noticed in 



VI Bowen 

5, m St. Erth 


near Strattoti 



at Moresbj 


— Ellenborough 


— Pap Castle 


— Old Carlisle 


— Whitbarrowr 

XI II BewCastl.e 

XIV Netkcrby 

XV Liddle Slbiint 

XVI at Castlestecds, in Cas- 
tle Sowerby 

XVII — . Mawbrugli 
>^VIII — Ponsonby 

XIX — Wliitestuiies 

XX — Esjdneal 

XXI ^— CuQingarth 

XXII _ Kirkland 

XXIII _ Hardknot 
^XIV — Bainscar 


XXV Buxlon 

XXVI Brugh 

XXyil Mdendra Castle 

XXVIII at Parwick 

XXIX —Chesterfield 
??X — Pentrich 


XXXI Gountesbury 

XXXII Hem bury Fort 


XXXIII I?le of Portland 

XXXIV St. Anne's hjll, «est of, 

XXXy Poondbury 


XXXVI South Shields 

XXXVII Chester le Street 


XXXVI II near Sturraere 

XXXIX Dunmow 
XL Chesterford 
XLI Harwich 

X LT I On the Black w iiter 

Gloucestershire. , 

XLIII Bourton on the water 
XLIV Dornton 
XLV Lydney 

XLVI near Cross-hands 

XLVII near Dowdeswell 

XLVIII Buckland, near Ljmington 

XLIX Brandon camp, neat Lent- 

L Newton 


LI Colne 

LI I Overborough 

LIII near Rochdale 


LIV Medbourn 
LV Ratby 

LVI Ludlord 
J A' II Horncastle 

LVIIl Taesborough 

LIX Cafiter 



almost every volume of tlie " Beauties of England and Wales," 
that it appears desirable to present a comprehensive view of the 


LIX Caistor 
LX Brancaster 
LXI Castle Acre 

JJi-ll Irchester 
LXIII Wadenhoe 
LXIV Cottestock 
LXV Woodford 
LXVl Cotton Mill 

LXVII Whitley Castle 
LXVIII on the river Reed 

LXIX Southwell 
LXX Combs 

LXXI Stonefield 

LXXII Brig Casterton 

LXXI II Chesterton 

LXXIV Ilchester (Ischalis) 
LXXV near Bnrrington 


LXXVI llocester 


LXXVII Ixworth 
LXXVIII Icklingham 
LXXIX Burgh Castle 
LXXX Creeling 
LXXXI Walton 
jliXXXII near Lawshall 

LXXXIII Rowlands Castle 
LXXXIV near Pulboroogh 

LXXXV near Portslade 

LXXXV t Watercrook 
LXXXVII Ambleside 
LXXXVIII Woodyates Inn 
LXXXIX Wanborough Njthe 
XC Easton Grey 

XCI Worcester 

XCII At Addle 
XCIII Maiden Castle, on Stai»- 

XCIV near Pickering 

XCV Whitby 

XCVI Askrig 
XCVII Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey 
XCVIII near Beaumaris, 

XCIX C. Gai, near Bala, Merion- 

C Penalt, near Machynlleth 
CI Caer Sws, Montgomeryshire 
CII Gaer, near Montgomery 
cm Flint 

CIV Caergwrle, Flintshire 
CV Holt, Denbighshire 
, CVI On the Y than, Radnorshire 

CVII Llanio-isau, Cardiganshire 
• CVIII Llanvair-ar-y-brin, Caermar> 

CIX G«er, 



modes of constrncling and occupying a fortress amongst the 
Romans, together with many other particulars, calculated to 
convey clear ideas of the character and history of Roman stations 
in Britain. 

The term Station applies to such castra stativa, or fixed 
campij, as were used for the permanent quarters of detachments 
of the Roman forces. Horsley observes, " that the word statio 
is used in Cxsar, Tacitus, and other good writers, for the duty 
of soldiers upon guard, or for the men that were employed in this 
duty. But, in the later times, it is, by a metouymy, applied 
to the fort, or place, where the soldiers lodged, or were on their 
duty." This mode of confining the meaning of the word to a 
fortress, instead of extending it to a town, as is usual with many 
writers, is approved by Mr. Reynolds (Introduction to the Itine- 
rary of Antoninus, p. 9.) But an indistinctness in the reception 
of the term appears still to prevail. It is certain that, in some 
instances, the castrametation remained peculiarly appropriated to 
the troops in garrison, while a town, in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the fortress, was gradually formed by the buildings 
raised for the purposes of traffic and security. But, in many 
other examples, the stationary castrum itself afforded a place of 
residence to the trader who sought commerce and protection from 
the military; and thus, in itself, became a town or city^ — It 


CIX Gaer, near Brecon 
CX Cwra du, Brecknockshire 
CXI near Newcastle, Caer- 


Stations and Camps, on, and 

near, the walls of Antonine 

and Severus. 

CXII Cousins house 
CXI II Newcastle 
CXIV Bciiwel hill 
CXV Ruichcster 
CXVI Halton Chestew 

CXVII Walwick Cheaters 
CXVIII Carrowbragh 
CXIX House-steedc 
CXX Little Chesters 
CXXI Great Chesters 
CXXII Caerveran 
CXX III Burdeswold 
CXXIV Cambeckfort 
CXXV Watchcross 
CXX VI Stanwick 
CXXVIII Drumburgh 
CXXIX Boolness 


seems probable that such intermingled circumstances of inhabita- 
tion, ^within the walls of a fortress, chiefly occurred in camps like 
Silchester, formed on the spacious, but irregular, site of a** Bri- 
tish settlement. 

It is well known that the Romans, in all their wars, were par- 
ticularly careful, and evinced greal judgment, in the choice of 
the site on which they encamped their troops. The skill with 
which they improved on the natural strength of the situation 
chosen on these occasions, is sufficiently evident from the se- 
curity with which their armies reposed, in the interior of so luauy 
hostile countries. 

The Roman camps are usually divided into two classes; Castra 
hyhema, and Castra cestiva. The former, which were merely, 
in the first instance, designed for the winter quarters of the in- 
vading army, were often adopted as stationary, or garrison, posts, 
when the district in which they were situated became tributary. 
Tiiese were sometimes placed on the site of British settlements ; 
in which case, the irregularity of form that prevailed amongst the 
Britons, who chiefly looked to natural advantages for the attain- 
ment of local strength, was preserved by the more scientific 
Romans.* But, in camps originally laid out by themselves, the 
figure was, almost invariably, square or oblong; sometimes 
having the angles obtuse, or rounded off". When a deviation oc- 
curs from this form of castrametation, the cause will be obvious, 
in some very peculiar circumstance of natural strength, or con- 
venience, which is gained by the partial sacrifice of regularity. 


• It is observed by Mr. Whitaker (Hist, of Mancliester, Vol. I. p. 44 ) 
that the fact of Roman towns being frequently placed on the site of British 
fortresses, " is abundantly shewn by the British names of the stations in the 
Roman Itineraries ; near three fourths of the stations bearing British names, 
and thereby evincing themselves to be erected upon the sites of British for- 
tresses. The latter were generally planted upon such ground as an intimate 
knowledge of the country recommended ; and such, therefore, as the policy 
of the Romans ceuld not but approve." — Instances of irregularity of form, 
obviously arising from the adoption of a British site by the Romans, may 
be noticed in Silchester, Kcutchester, Bath, Canterbury, &ic. 


In respect to the usual character of the site chosen for Roman 
encampments, the following remarks of Horsley may be received 
as ^tisfactory : " There is nothing that the Romans seen to 
have had a greater regard to, than the convenience of a river, 
and perhaps, too, the additional strength which it afforded. For 
the benefit of the meridian sun, which they must need who came 
from so much wanner a climate, they usually had their stations 
and outbuildings on the north side of the rivers, and on a gentle 
declivity. In some instances they chose higher ground, for 'dry- 
ness and prospect. And, as oft as they could, they seem willing 
to have joined these together."* 

From these circumstances of configuration and locality of site, 
the Roman camp, as to its general character, may be readily 
distinguished from that of the other nations connected, in a mili- 
tary capacity, with this island. In a subsequent page it will he 
shewn that the castrametalions formed by the Romans were fre- 
qnently adopted, and altered, by the different invading powers 
which succeeded that people in an ascendancy over the British. 
But, still, the remains of Roman castra, free from marks of 
innovation, and venerable in the ruinous character imparted by 
abandonment and time euly, occur in nearly every part of Bri- 
tain. ~The antiquary regards them with curious attention; nor 
are the pleasures of such a contemplation confined to him who 
values the relics of other days, merely because they are antiqui- 
ties. The splendour of Roman story has awakened many of the 
nobler sensations in the mind of the general student. It became 
familiar with us in the class books of our boyhood, and mixed 
witii our early sympaliiies. There are few who view, for the 
tirbl time, a castrametation assuredly Roman, without a thrill of 
exquisite pleasure at beholding, free from the necessity of foreign 
travel, a memorial of the people who spread civilization in the 
same progress with victory, and bestowed a knowledge of the 


• Hprsley. Brit. Rom. p. 109—110. 


useful and elegant arts, as a compensalioa for the severities i a; 
flicted by their arms. 

The folluwiug extract of Josephus may not be uiiacceptuble to 
the ardent views of such an examiner, since it traces the cas- 
trum of the Romans, even to the halt of the legion which might 
form an intrenchment for the security of a Caesar, or an Agri- 
cola, in the repose of adventurous marches. — It, indeed, peo- 
ples to the imagination such extensive works, now dreary, and 
overgrown with wild shrubs or moss; and conveys, in vivid 
imagery, distinct notions of the general bustle which prevailed 
at taking possession of the camp, and of the excellent order with 
which affairs were afterwards disposed : 

" As soon as the Romans have marched into an enemy's land, 
they do not begin to fight, till they have walled their camp 
about; nor is the fence they raise, rashly made, or uneven. 
Nor do they all abide in it: nor do those that are in it take 
their places at random. If it happens that the ground is uneven, 
it is first levelled. Their camp is square by measure ; and car- 
penters are ready, in great numbers, with their tools, to erect 
their buildings (or them. 

" As for what is within the camp, it is set apart for tents; 
but the outward circumference hath the resemblance to a wall ; 
and is adorned with towers at equal distances; whilst, between 
the towers, stand the engines for throwing arrows, and darts, 
and for slinging stones ; and there they lay all other engines 
that can annoy the enemy, all ready for their several opera- 

" They also erect four gates, one at every side of the circum- 
ference ; and those large enough for the entrance of beasts, and 
vride enough for making excursions, if occasion should require. 
They divide the camp within into streets, very conveniently ; 
and place the tents of the commanders in the middle: but, in 
tlie midst of all, is the General's own tent, in the nature of a 

" In short, the whole appears to be a citjf, built on a sudden ; 



with its marketplace, and place for handicraft trades; and with 
•eats (or stations) for the officers, superior and inferior : where, 
ifany differences arise, their causes are heard and determined. 

" The camp, and all that is in it, is encompassed with a wall; 
and that sooner than one would iraasfine ; — by the multitude and 
the skill of the labourers. And a trench is drawn round the 
whole, whose depth is four cubits, (i. e. six feet,) and its breadth 

" They live together in the camp, by companies. And each 
company hath its wood, and corn, and water, brought to it as is 
needful. And they neither sup nor dine as they please them- 
selves singly; but all together. 

" When they are to go out of their camp, the trumpet gives 
a sound: and instantly they take down their tents, and all is 
made ready for their march. When the trumpet sounds again, 
they lay their baggage suddenly upon their mules, and ether 
beasts of burden, and stand as at a place of starting, ready to 
inarch. At the same time setting fire to their camp. — And when 
the trumpet sounds a third time, a crier, standing at the Gene- 
ral's right hand, asks them thrice, whether they are ready. On 
which they, all lifting up their right hands, answer, we are 
ready; and march forth directly, without noise, and keeping 
their ranks."* 

In addition to the lively, but general, terms of the above de- 
scription, it is desirable to examine into the particular arrange- 
ment of the Roman camps; and to complete, as far as may be 
practicable, the mournful pleasure arising from a contemplation 
of such ruined works, by stating the modes in which the out- 
lines were fortified, and the interior divided and occupied. 

The regular and great stationary camp was encompassed by 

a lofty 

• King, «pad Josephus de Bello Jud. lib. III. cap. 5- sec. 1, 2, 3,4, and 5. 
It will be obviouB that this description more immediately applies to the tem- 
porary camps formed by the Romans on their marches ; but it elucidates, 
in a curious and satisfactory manner, many of the operations usual with tiien* 
is the general commeacement of military works. 


a lofty and massive wall, composed of stone, or of mingled stone, 
flint, and brick ; and nvas further defended by a deep single, or 
double fosse. A correct idea of the general cliaracter of the wall 
•nrrounding such a castrum, may be formed from the following 
notice of a portion still remaining at Richborough, in Kent, 
one of the best preserved, and most curious, of these military 
vestiges: " On approaching the ruins the eye is struck with the 
magnificent appearance of the north-eastern wall, which is, on 
the outside, in some parts near 30 feet high from the ground, 
and in many others about 23. Its thickness at bottom is in gene- 
ral from 11 to 12 feet; but it is, in some parts, even 13 feet. 
A manifest proof that they did not, in those days, build by so 
regular and exact a rule as has been the custom in modern times.* 
Its contents, also, are a proof of the same fact:- — For it is con- 
structed, indeed, of regular facings of alternate rows of squared 
•tone and brick on the two outside surfaces; but, within, be- 
tween these two uprights, it is composed merely of chalk, rub- 
ble, and flints, flung in carelessly, with cement, or mortar, 
spread over them at proper distances, so us to sink into the whole 
mass ; in which respect it exactly resembles walls constructed by 
the Romans in many other places. 

" The outside of this wall is very beautiful to the eye, as well 
as magnificeiit. It is composed (as far as now remains) in gene- 
ral, of seven great and fair distinct rows of stone, each of them 
very nearly four feet thick : — and each of them consisting, in 
general, of seven courses of separate stones. 

" These great courses of stone are separated from each other 
by six smaller courses of bricks, composed each merely of a dou- 
ble row of bricks, that are about an inch and a half, or an inch 
and three quarters in thickness, but are of verydifTerent breadths, 
from eight inches to a foot ; and of very different lengths, some 
being fourteen, some sixteen inches long, and some seventeen 


• It may be observed that the Romans were quite neglectful of raiaute 
precision in disposing the form and lines of their camps. The sides are ofl^tt 
•f aa unequal length; and uol straight, or set square. 


and an half. A variation of dimensions to be met uiith in other 
Roman structures. — In the old wall of Verulam was a brick very 
nearly two feet in length ; and there is one at Dover near thre« 
feet in length."* 

On the line of massy wall by which the camps were enclosed, 
are sometimes discovered the foundations, or remains, of circular 
towers. These frequently occur at the angles, or on each side 
of the gate. But it may be observed that the towers usually ap- 
pear to have been added to the walls after their first erection ; 
and it is probable that the generality of Roman stations in Bri- 
tain were originally constructed without such means of defence. 

The number, position, and names of the Gates of Roman 
camps are indistinctly stated by ancient writers ; and this want 
of perspicuity has given rise to considerable differences of opi- 
nion amongst the moderns.f In number they appear to have 
Iteeufour: the Prcetorian gate, which was situated in the front 


• Muniinenta Antiqua, Vol. II. p. 6 — 7 — 8. It will be recollected that 
Roman bricks rarj in composition as well as in dimensions. The colour of 
some is a fiue deep red, throughout the whole substance ; and these, per- 
haps, are the most prevalent. Others are red only on the outside, and ex- 
hibit a less valuable blue material within. Some are yellow. It is observed 
that the claj of which they are composed is generally found to be finely tem- 
pered, and well kneaded aud burnt. A table, shewing various sizes of 
Roman bricks discovered in this country, according to the respective state- 
ments of several modern authors, is given in Archoeologia, Vol. II* p. 185. 

f In the following view of the arrangement of a Roman camp, I have 
adopted the outline of General Roy, so well known as an experienced engi- 
neer and judicious antiquarian writer. For opinions directly in opposition 
to this received plan, the reader is referred to ^uaimmta Antiqua, Vol. II. 
p. 13; 143, &LC. The whole subject is, indeed, obscure ; and is even yet 
quite open to discussion. In prefacing his plan of a Human camp, as pre- 
sented in the " Military Antiquities," General Roy observes, " that, at 
Polybius is silent with regard to the number, names, and situation of the 
gates, recourse has been had to Livy and Vegetius ; and the plan accord- 
ingly formed in the manner that seemed most consistent with what all the 
ifaree have related of it." Mil. Antiquities, p. 45. 


of the camp; the Decuman gate, which was on the opposite 
side to the Prsetorian, and derived its name from its width, or 
capacity of allowing ten men to march through it abreast;* and 
the two Principal gates, which were situated one on each side 
of the oblong encampment, and were not of equal importance with 
the Decuman, but probably derived their name from their situa- 
tion at the extremities of the principal street of the camp. 

The camp, thus formed in outline, and entered by four conve- 
nient gates, was internally arranged with great judgment and 
care. The accounts handed down by Polybius, and other con- 
temporary historians, have been discussed, with some difference 
of view, bnt with equal zeal and industry, by General Roy and 
by Mr. King.f From the digested statements of these writers, 
compared with each other, and elucidated by appeals to their au- 
thorities, may be presented, with a confident probability of accu- 
racy, the following particulars. 

When the outlines were complete, the standard, or eagle, was 
raised on the spot chosen by the General as the site of his tent; 
which was usually placed on the highest ground, for the purpose 
of convenient inspection and command. The stafi' of the standard 
was the ruling point of admeasurement ; and around it was marked 
oflf a square piece of ground, assigned for the occupation of the 
consul, or general, and styled the Prcetorium, from the Latin 
custom of bestowing the title oi Prtetor on general officers. Ac- 
cording to General Roy, each side of this square space was two 
hundred feet, or one hundred feet from the centre ; but Mr. King 
contends, and with considerable force of argument, that the 

L Praeloriura 

* Such appears lo be the fact, in the opinion of the majority of writers. 
General Roy (Military Antiquities, p. 50.) supposes, on the contrary, that 
tlie Decuman Gate acquired it« name from the circumstance of the ofTanders 
being led through it for punishment, when any particular corps, or number 
of soldiars, was decimated, or punished in the instance of every tenth man, 
in consequence of misbehaviour in the field, or other disorderly conduct. 

t Military Antiquities of the Romans in Biit/iin ; and Munhuenta Anti- 
qua. Vol. II. 


Pitetorium was, in fact, four hundred feet square. The Prarto- 
rium contained the consul's tent, with a neighbouring SaceUum, 
and Angurale;* and a parade, or court, for the asseiubling of 
the officers. In forming il, particular care was taken that the 
four sides should be parallel to the front. Fear, and two ilankii of 
the camp. 

A line was then «lrawn before the Prietorium, and parallel to 
it, at the distance of fifty feet, running entirely across the camp. 
Within this boundary, to the right and left of the Prsetorium, 
were placed the tents of the twelve tribunes, »ix ou each side - 
the spaec between tlK:ir tents being occupied by their horses and 
attendants. Beyond the tribunes, and equally divided on each 
side, were placed the tents of the twelve prefects of the allies. 
The tents of all these officers were so pitched, as to have the 
main body of the legions in their front. 

Beyond this line, or, rather, beyond the fronts of the above 
tents, at the distance of one buitdred feet, was drawn another 
line, to the whole breadth of the eamp; and the interval between 
both, formed the cliief sstreet of the canvp (called Principia, or 
Principalis) having the principal gates at its two extremities. 
This street was levelled with great care; and here the whole 
army was mustered previous to a march. 

Leading in a straight direction, from the central point of the 
front of the Prsetorium through the body of the camp, Wiis cou- 
slructed another street, fifty feet in width. On the sides of this 
street were placed the Roman cavalry; those of the first, or 
eldest, legion being on the right, and tliose of the second, or 


* It is curious to observe that, in numerous inslauces, a Christian church 
is found to have been erected on, or near, that part of the site of Roman 
camps formerly occupied by the Praetorium, and probably engrossing more 
parlicnlarly the poition once appropriated to Pagau rites of worship. The 
lim Cathedral of St. Paul's in London, " was built nearly ou the spot where 
liiust have bc«i the Roman Praetorian camp ; and this has continued to be 
Uie situation of all the three succeeding Metropolitan fabrics, to the preseal 
time." Pdreutalia, p. 271. 


jouugest, on the left. Each troop occupied a space one hun- 
dred feet in breadth, and extending one hundred feet along the 
street; and every maniple of foot (that part of the army being 
encamped directly behind the cavalry) was, likewise, allowed one 
hundred feet in length for its accommodation, reckoning by the 
line of the principal street. 

At the distance of five hundred feet (the space occupied by 
five troops, or maniples) from the Principia, ran, parallel with 
that great thoroughfare, a street fifty feet in width, which 
stretched across the whole encampment, and was called Quintana. 
Beyond this intersecting way, were placed the other five troops 
and maniples ; and their last line formed the extremity of the 

' On the right and left of the Triarii (the veteran foot, en- 
^mped behind the cavalry of their respective legions) two streets, 
each fifty feet broad, extended from the principia to the front of 
the camp, or that part most distant from the Pr«torium.* Ott 

L 2 the 

* So indistinctly known are many particulars concerning the Roman art of 
castrametationj that modern writers diifer in opinion as to which roust be 
termed the front, and which the rear of the camp. — In defence of the plan 
adopted above. General Roy (Military Antiquities, p. 47.) presents the fol- 
lowing, among other remarks : — 

** With respect to the front of the camp, Polybius expressly says that the 
tents of the tribunes were pitched so as to have the praetorium behind, and 
all the rest of the camp, that is to say the whole body of the army, before 
them ; on which account that side where the legions were placed, was called 
the front. In tracing the five direct streets, he says that they began at that 
space, of one hundred feet in breadth, before the tents of the tribunes (the 
principal street) and ended at what was called th« front of the camp. la 
assigning the quarters for the extraordinary foot, he tells us that thay were 
placed behind the extraordinary cavalry, fronting towards the intreuchpaent 
and rear of the camp. From all which, it is very plain that Polybius under- 
stood that side to be the front of the camp, where the bodies of the legions 
were placed, and that opposite to it, behind the prsetorium, quaestorium, &Cf 
to be the rear." 

This opinion of Geuersl Roy is strongly controverted by Mr. King (Moni- 


14S INTRODtJCtlO!!. 

the sides of these streets were placed the Principes, who were 
double in number to the Triarii, and had, therefore, a space 
allowed them, one hundred feet in breadth as well as in length. 

On the right and left of the Principes, looking outwards, were 
stationed the Hastati, who being of the same numbers were al- 
lowed the same extent of ground. This latter division of the 
army fronted two other, and more outward, streets j each being 
fifty feet broad, and runiling to the whole length of the encamp- 

.• On the opposite sides of the above streets, were quartered the 
cavalry of the allies. These are well known to have been thrice 
the number of the Roman cavalry; but, as one-third part of them 
was stationed near the Prsetorium, there remained, on each side, 
no more than six hundred of the allied horse, who appear to 
have been usually encamped in double maniples; and to each 
division occupied by them two hundred feet in depth was, there- 
fore, appropriated. 

Contiguous to their own cavalry, but with their front towards 
the vallum, or rampart, of the intrencliment, were stationed the 
allied foot;* who were equal in number to the RoiAans; but, as 

, one 

menta Antiq. Vol. II. p. 14, 15, not':;) but, altliougli he offers some inge- 
nious comments on the mode in which the General renders Poljbius, and on 
some instances of ancient history which he adduces in illustration of his argu- 
ments, the reader will, probably, remain unshaken in an adherence to the 
former writer, if he carefully examine tiie authorities on which the argument 
must definitively rest. — It is curiously observed by General Roy (p. 50, of 
the same section which contains the above extract) that, "So much of the 
Roman method is yet retained by all nations, that, in encamping their troops, 
the private men are constantly placed in the front ; behind them the subal- 
terns ; then the captains ; and, in the rear of these, the field officers." 

• According to General Roy, the horse and foot of the allies were en- 
camped back to back, without any intervening street. Mr. King, on the 
contrary, supposes that a regular street, 60 feet in breadth, was formed be- 
tween these bodies of troops on either wing. Thus, the former writer, makes 
/at »l reels only to have passed through the camp, from front to rear j while. 


«ne fifth part of them (together with the above-named portion of 
the horse) was eucamped near the Praetoriura, they had no more 
than the breadth of two hundred feet allowed them in this place. 
And it is evident, that such a space was just equal to that allowed 
to the Hastati, and Principes, of the Roman legions. At the 
head of their respective troops and maniples, were placed the 
tents of the centurions, which tents faced the streets. 

Having thus disposed of the area to the front of the Praetorium, 
it remains to notice the distribution of ground on the right, left, 
and rear of that part of the camp. '^'^ '"' ''' ;2»f '-^r..** .li: i,i. 

It is plainly evinced by the description of Polybius, that im- 
mediately behind the Pratoriura ran a street 100 feet broad, 
which proceeded entirely across the eamp, and was parallel with 
the tents of the Tribunes. Between this street and the Tribunes* 
tents, it is evident that there was a space of the same breadth with 
the Praetorium, ou each side; and it appears that those spaces 
were occupied in the following manner. On one side was formed 
an area, termed the Market-place by some writers ; but, perhaps, 
with more propriety, styled the Forum by others; for we are 
certainly to consider this area as the place in which public busi- 
ness was transacted and justice administered, rather than as a 
mart for the disposal of edible articles. On the opposite side of 
the Praetorium, was a quarter assigned to the Qucestor ; and near 
him, were the repositories of arms, clothing, and provisions. 

L d Beyond 

in the opinion of the latter, the unmber of wayi which passed in that diree* 
tioii was seven. This difference will be perceiTed, on referring to the engraved 
plans of Pol^bian Roman camps, in their respective works. Except as to (hp 
exercise of speculative ingenuity, both writers depend on the testimony of 
Polybiiis, whose words on this subject have been variously translated. Ac- 
cording to Mr. King, " the plain translation is simply — all the five ivays being 
finished — which only implies altthe five ways belonging to the legion ilstlf: — 
and this even leads us to conclude that there were, also, other ways, or streets, 
belonging to the allied troops ; — or, at least, leaves us at liberty lo do so." — 
The reader will, perhaps, be of opinion, that the liherty of conjectural con- 
clusion is the utmost result t« which these words are subject, if sirai.ied be- 
youd the simplicity of their actual import. 


Beyond these places of public use were quartered the Ablecti, or 
select horse of the allies, forming the consul's guard ; together 
with the Evocati, and volunteer horse. Still further distant, 
•were placed the Evocati, and volunteer foot; and, at the extre- 
mity of the whole body, and with their front towards the in- 
trenchment, were stationed the select foot of the allies, likewise 
making the guard of the consul. 

From the central part of the Praetorium, a street, 50 feet in 
width, was carried in a direct line to the neighbouring gate, 
which, according to the above plan, we must term the Decuman 

On both sides of this street were encamped the extraordinary 
horse of the allies; and behind them, or nearer to the intreuch- 
ment, were placed the extraordinary foot of the same division of 
the army. The stations of these forces were on the rear of the 
whole camp, and the spaces which remained, on their right and 
left, were appropriated to the lodging and accommodation of such 
strangers as the various business of policy, or war, might lead to 
visit the array. 

Thus were the inmates of the Roman castrum disposed ;* and 
between the tents and the intrenchments, on each side of the 
camp, was left a space of 200 Roman feet. It is stated by Ge- 
neral Roy, " that this esplanade was of great use, not only for the 
easy going out, and coming in, of the legions, and their forming 
readily behind the rampart for its defence; but, likewise, for 
placing the cattle, and booty of all kinds, taken from the enemy, 
which was guarded there during tlie night. By this means, too, 
the troops in camp were farther removed from the enemy's 


In regard to the particulars of individual allotment, it appears, 


* In some instances, the lines of street laid down by the Romans are still 

perceptible, in the thoroughfares of the English city or town. In no place is 

this more evident, than in Chester, which city produces numerous other curious 

vestiges of a Roman arrangement. See Beauties for Cheshire, p. 195, et seq. 

t Roy's Military Antiquities, p. 45. 


from tliat curious fragment of Hyginus vpbich has much assisted 
in explaining many circurastances of the Roman art of castra- 
nietation, and vhich was first introduced to the general notice of 
British antiquaries by General Roy,* that for every tent a space 
«f ten feet was allowed, with the addition of a foot, all round 
for the convenience of pitching it. To this was added a space, of 
equal length with the tent, and five feet in breadth, for the deposit 
of arms; and a space of the same length, and nine feet in breadth, 
for the bat-horses. One of these tents was usually allotted to 
eight men. 

The following circumstances, although of no striking import- 
ance, may be noticed, as they assist in bestowing animation on 
■our ideas of the Roman encampment. One maniple of the 
Triarii, succeeded by others in regular turn, constantly watched 
round the General's tent. Four soldiers, placed two before and 
two behind, attended as a guard of state, the tent of each Tri- 
bune ; and the tents of the Prsefects were attended by a similar 
guard, amongst the allies. The entrenchments of the camp were 
constantly watched by the Velites ; and ten of the same light 
and agile soldiers held guard at every gate. To preserve on the 
alert the whole of those who watched the camp, four soldiers, cho- 
sen from the Equitcs, tvent the rounds, one at every watch ; and 
this surveyor of the guard commenced his duty on the soaoding of 
a trumpet at the tent of the first centurion of the Triarii, and took 
with him some companions in arms, to bear witness to the truth 
of the report which he made to the Tribuucs on the following 

The above description of a Roman castrametation applies to 
the consular camp, for two legions, with their auxiliaries, amount- 
ing in the whole to about 19,200 men ; and the account of its in- 
ternal arrangement is according to the Polybian mode of encamp- 
ment, or that which prevailed in early ages, conspicuous for vi- 
gorous simplicity of tactics, and strictness of discipline. 

L 4 A method 

* Military Antiquities No. II. ji. 176. 


A method of encamping, which differs from the above iu many 
particulars, afterwards grew into practice, and has been handed 
down to posterity by Hyginus, who lived under the Emperors 
Trajau and Hadrian. A variation, as to external form, observ- 
able in this latter system, is chiefly referable to such lines of in- 
treuchments as were made for the use of the tempoi^ry campj 
but many dissimilarities of internal organization apply to the re- 
gular station as well as to the hasty eartli-work. It is observed 
by General Roy,* " that, in the time of Marius, the military 
affairs of the Romans, no doubt, suffered a very considerable 
change. How far this immediately affected their ancient system 
of castrametation it is impossible to determine; perhaps, at first, 
the difference in this respect was not very great, and though the 
distinction by maniples of hastati, principes, and triarii, might 
have wholly ceased, yet the entire cohorts might, for a long time 
after, have preserved their position in the camp." 

Between that period, however, and the ages of mature impe- 
rial power in which Hyginus lived, it is certain that further, and 
more important alterations had taken place. To pass over various 
minutiae respecting the disposal of the troops, it may be sufficient 
to notice the following circumstances, which affect the size and 
the proportions of the Roman castrametation. 

Hyginus describes a complete imperial army, as consisting of 
three legions with their auxiliaries; and, consequently, the camp for 
its reception was divided into three parts. These were not exactly 
of an equal length, but each extended to the whole width of the 
area. The Hyginian camp, (or that which prevailed in the time 
of Hyginus, and is described by him) differs from the Polybian, 
in general features of outline; it usually being, instead of nearly, 
or quite square, one-third more in length than in width. The 
length of an imperial camp for three legions is stated by Hyginus 
to be 2400 feet ; and the width 1 600 feet. When the camp was 
longer than this proportion, it was termed Classica, " because, 


';-.-• Military Antiq. p. 177. 


then, the ordinary signal given by the buccinum, or bagle-horn, 
at the front of the prxtorium, conld with difficulty be heard at the 
decuman gate ; and, therefore, a general charge, or sounding of 
all the martial music together, seems to have become necessary." 
The Hyginian camp is rounded at the angles, or corners. 

In regard to the fortifications, the ditch was five feel broad at 
top, and three feet deep. The rampart is deseribed as being 
eight feet broad, and six feet high ; so that the soldiers (as is 
observed by General Roy) who were drawn up along the work for 
its defence, appear to have stood only one and a half, or two feet at 
most, above the common surface of the ground ; having a small pa- 
rapet, or breast- work, before them. The gates were usually four in 
number, as was the practice with the Polybian camps ; but when the 
imperial army, on a great occasion of the stale, consisted of five 
or six legions, two additional gates were formed at the ends of 
the quintan street. In this description of camp, the principal 
street was 60 feet broad, as was, also, the prsetorian street. The 
quintan street was 30 feet in width ; and a thoroughfare of similar 
dimensions, termed the sagular street, ran completely round the 
camp. But the width of the two latter streets was increased to 
40 feet, in the instance of the army exceeding the number of 
three legions. The interval between the tents and the intrench* 
ment on the exterior of the camp, was 60 feet broad in eveiy 
direction ; and it may be here observed that, in this mode of en- 
camping, the legionary troops were generally placed nearest to 
the rampart. I'^i ««:. 

The Hyginian camp differs, in atnarked manner, from the Poly- 
bian, in respect to the situation ofthe Praetorium ; which, in this form 
of encampment, was very long and narrow, and was placed nearly 
the centre of the general area, witli the Fonim and the Quaesto- 
rium immediately below it, and the Sacellum and Augurale in its 
front. The Praetorium was not less than 7*20 feet in length, and 
was sometimes as much as 220 feet in width. 

Such appear to be the leading particulars of dissimilarity be- 
tween the Polybian and the Hyginian, or the consular and im- 


perial modes of encamping ; and the above brief account of a 
large exemplar of each class will apply, in general character* 
istics, to the less capacious imitations which were formed, in va* 
rious degrees of size, for smaller bodies of troops, as expediency 
might demand. The superior simplicity which prevails in the 
design of the more early camp, will be obvious on tbe slightest 
view; and it must be remembered that military discipline so 
greatly declined among the Romans, for some time previous to 
the fall of the empire, that Vegetius, writing in the fourth cen> 
tury, does not scruple to assert, that not only was the custom of 
fortifying a camp laid aside, but the very method of doing it en- 
tirely lost.* 

From the notice already taken of the Roman castnim, miy be 
deduced a general notion of its internal organization, in regard to 
the distribution of troops, and the system of discipline by which 
the eamp was regulated. Respecting such as were adopted for 
STATIONS, some few remarks have been submitted in a previous 
page, and it is now desirable to make some additions to what has 
been there said. 

Immediately on subduing a fresh tribe, or petty British nation, 
these judicious conquerors fortified such primary posts as were 
well suited to the purpose of their futnre operations; and esta- 
blished secondary posts, to secure a line of communication. It 
has been already remarked that the sites of British towns 
were frequently adopted for the use of the Roman station ; and, 
in other instances, the castrum for the abode of the conquering 
troops, was often placed in the close neighbourhood of such an- 
cient towns. Wliere the British site was adopted, the irregula- 
rity of outline remained, althoogh strengthened by the Roman 
art of fortification ; and it is still in many places discernible, and 
imparts a decided character Co this species of Roman town. But, 
when these celebrated planters of military population acted free 
from the restraint of a previous outline, they bestowed on the 


• latwduelion to lh« Itinerary of Antoninus, by the Rev. T. Reynolds, p. 10. 


new town their favourite shape of castrametation, and uniformly 
made it square, or oblong.* 

In ascertaining the precise locality of such Roman stations and 
towns as were distributed throughout Britain, we have for our 
principal guides the Itineraries of Antoninus and Richard. f 
From the Itineraries alone we are, indeed, enabled to trace with 
any resemblance of accuracy, the sites of many Roman settle- 
ments in this island; and it may not only prove interesting, but 
appears to be indispensably necessary, to present some observa- 
tions concerning the methods usually adopted in fixing the sites 
of the towns specified in those curious works. 

The writers who first cultivated, in this country, a taste for 
the study of antiquities, relied on a mode of ascertaining the 
sites of Roman towns, which is proved, by more mature consi- 
deration, to be unsatisfactory, if not supported by circumstances 
of a less disputable character. With them, the resemblance of a 
name was deemed of primary and arbitrary importance ; and an 
explanation of names to suit the evident, or conjectural, circum- 
stances of locality, was, likewise, esteemed a criterion of predo- 
minating influence, where an actual resemblance of letters asid 
sound could not be discovered. The errors arising from this sys- 
tem have been clearly proved ; and the mistakes of Camden, who, 
under the guidance of such a persuasion, places Camulodunum at 
Maldon, and Ad-Pontem at Paunton, may be noticed, as instances 
of its precariousness, if not of its entire fallacy. 

In regard to the modern name by which a place of known an- 
tiquity is distinguished, it may, however, be received as a stand- 
ard of frequent, and almost of general, operation, that where the 
word Chester, Caster, or Cester, occurs, either as the whole, or 


* Specimens of regular Roman towns may be s«en in Cokheiter, WinchcSf 
ter, Caerleou, Caencent, &c. 

+ To the informatioH conveyed by the Itineraries must be added that 
of the Notitia Imperii, and the Chnrography of the Anonymmn Ravcnnas; 
both which works are noticed in our List of Eooks connected generally with 
England and Waks. 


as the part of an appellation, it declares that town to have been 
fortified and inliabited by the Romans. It is certain, that the 
iSaxons, likewise, often preserved the first syllable, or more, of 
the Roman name, with a termination of their own.''^ Even the 
partial coincidence of name will, therefore, be admitted as fair 
and desirable collateral evidence; but, for primary groundwork of 
information, the judicious enquirer will look to other sources. 

That the Roman towns in Britain were numerous, and of con- 
siderable celebrity, is sufficiently evinced hy the Itineraries; and 
there is reason for supposing that they were, in fact, much more 
numerous than is generally believed. But it will appear far from 
surprising -that, comparatively, few local vestiges, even of the 
names by which the majority of ^ch towns were distinguished, 
should have been preserved antil the revival of learning, when 
we remember the savage ferocity with which the Roman cities 
were razed, and annihilated, by the nations which succeeded to 
that ascendancy over the Britons, which was so long possessed 
by the imperial government.f Ufe?. 

So comprehensive was the policy, and so persevering the in- 
dustry, of the Romans, that these towns, however numerous they 
may be supposed, were all united and rendered easy of access by 


* See observations to this effect in Kichols's Leicestershire, Vo), I. p. 148; 
and in Reynolds's Introduction to the Itinerary, &c. p. 58. — In the latter work 
are given numerous instances of such a practice among the Saxons. 

+ In a note, by the Bishop of Cloyne, on the introduction to Reynolds's 
edition of the itinerary of Antoninus, occnr the following remarks, concerning 
the spirit which generally pervaded the tribes who triumphed over the arms 
of Rome ; — " Tiie barbaiian conquerors of the Roman provinces destroyed 
the cities, defaced the works of art, and even seem in some instances to have 
cut up the roads. When the strong and flourishing city of Aquileia was taken, 
it was immediately levelled with the ground, and the triumphant barbarian 
boasted that, in tiiree days after its capture, he had gallopped his horse, with- 
out stumbling, over the spot where the town had stood. The wonder is, then, 
that we find such evident traces of many of the Roman towns in Britain at 
this day, not that some have intirely disappeared. Several of these towos 
khcw marks of fire in ttieir ruins." — Iter. Britanniaram, &c. p. 5^. 


lines of solid road. The existence of a Roman town, therefore, 
implies that of a contiguous Roman thoroughfare. Frequently, 
the town is situated on the direct line of the road; whilst, in 
other instances, the road deviates from the straight course so in- 
variably pursued by the Romans, without the occurrence of such 
an inducement, or the intervention of great natural obstacles ; or 
throws off a branch for the purpose of a communication with 
the town. But the want of discernible vestiges of a Roman 
road, near the site of a town supposed to have been occupied 
by that people, is no positive argument against the identity of 
such a site ; on account of the alterations in thoroughfares effect- 
ed by many successive ages, and in consideration of our defective 
knowledge of the number and direction of the numerous roads 
constructed by the Romans. This exception, however, does not 
relate to the usual situation of tlie chief military posts. It will 
be found that the regular stations are, in general, placed on the 
great roads, at nearly equal distances ; which, in the majority of 
stages, do not exceed twenty miles, the length of a single march. 
It does not appear necessary to state, in this Introduction, the 
whole of the different criteria, for ascertaining, according to rules - 
best approved by experience, the locality of such towns, or sta- 
tions, as are noticed in the Itineraries of Antoninus and Richard. 
Those rules may be seen very judiciously enumerated, and ex- 
plained, in the commentaries' on the respective Itineraries, pub- 
lished by the Rev. Thomas Reynolds and by Mr. Hatcher; but it 
may be here observed, in attention to a remark contained in the 
latter work, that, " after the Romans had established their power, 
and completed their system of internal communication, they, un- 
doubtedly, lessened the number of their garrisons, to avoid either 
too great a division of their force, or to reduce that part of it 
which was necessarily stationary." Hence, we may sometimes 
consider the direction of the road, and the general distance, "as 
sufficient data for determining a station, or stations, either when 
they were situated between two considerable fortified points, or 
wheu covered by others on every side ; because it is probable 


158 introdOctiow. 

sueh posts were merely temporary, and were dilapidated, or de- 
molished, even before the decline of the Roman power."* 

The distance must, indeed, be received as tlie chief standard 
of consideration, in researches concerning the site of the Itine- 
rary towns, as it is almost the only clue to discovery afforded by 
those works. But the most interesting, and, perhaps, the only 
indubitable proof of an ancient Roman town or station (if not of 
the temporary and deserted kind noticed above) certainly consists 
in the discovery of antiquities, of a Roman original. In nume- 
rous instances are seen remains of the wall which surrounded the 
town, or of the baths and other buildings used by the inhabit- 
ants; and fragments of brick and tile are often strewed, in surpris- 
ing abundance, over the ploughed field where once stood the Roman 
city ! This is particularly the case at Silchester, in Hampshire >* 
it may be here remarked that the high preservation and great 
extent of the wall's, together with the luxuriant existence of 
varions scattered denotations of former dwellings, combine to ren- 
der Silchester one of -the most impressive instances of a depopu- 
lated and forsaken Roman station, that is, perhaps, to be found 
amidst the ruins of this once-mighty empire. — Such vestiges as 
are there seen (including coius, which are found in great numbers 
on almost every spot occupied for a length of time by the Ro- 
mans ; and inhumed urns, the repositories of the ashes of the 
colonists,) are often necessary to the entire conviction of the ju- 
dicious enquirer, while the contemplation of them forms the most 
pleasing reward of his labours. 

The usual character of such Roman antiquities as are most 
frequently discovered, will meet with brief notice in a subse- 
quent page; but it must be observed, in this place, that, whilst 
we consider the occurrence of such antiquities to be nearly the 
so|e undoubted proof of the former existence of a Roman town, 
it is to be remembered that the mere discovery of a bath, a pave- 
raeut, or other vestiges of domestic life, does not absolutely 


* CumiBcntar^' ontbe Itin. of Ricbard, &c. Edit. 1809, p. 106. 


argue that a toiDn formerly stood on sucb a spot ; as the Roman 
officers were accustomed to indulge that taste for rural scenery, 
so conspicuous among the most polished of their countrymen, 
by the construction of villas, in recluse, but picturesque, si- 

The subject of such circumstances as usually denote the site of 
a town, formed or adopted by the Romans, may be closed with 
the following observations from the pen of Mr. Reynolds : " Re- 
mains of Roman military works are very common ; — their sta- 
tions, or winter-quarters, adjoining to several principal towns ; 
and their summer-camps, upon hills, or elevated situations, near 
them. In some places, the former remain to this day, very visible 
from their old intreiichraents ; but, in others, their ancient forms 
are obliterated by the British, and Saxon, or Norman, castles 
which generally occupy a part of the site of them. An ancient 
castle, or the ruins of one, seems very good probable proof that 
a Roman station may have first occupied the same ground ; at 
least, in such towns as are known to have existed in those 

Having thus endeavoured to convey a distinct idea of the cha- 
racter of the great stationary town, when arranged for lasting 
occupation, and secured by walls and massy turrets, it remains 
to notice such eauth-works as were indubitably constructed by 
the Romans, for military purposes. These are of frequent oc- 
currence ia most parts of the island, and are readily distinguish- 
ed by their shape (the square, or oblong, constantly used by 
Romans, unless circumstances of natural strength, or conve- 
nience, induced a partial deviation) and by the other pecu- 
liarities of fortification, noticed in previous pages as being usual 
with the Romans. 

It will, indeed, create little surprise to find so frequently these 
vestiges of Roman earthen -i-amparts, when we remember that it 
was the invariable practice of their armies to enclose themselves 


* Itc; Sritanniarum, p. 56. 


within an intrenchment, consisting of a rampart and ditch, \rher<> 
ever they halted, when in an enemy's country, if only for a 
single night. It is unquestionable, likewise, that some of 
their military stations were fortified simply by earth-works and 

In regard to strength of intrenchment, the camps of the Ro- 
mans exhibit a considerable variety; the cause of which may 
be readily supposed lo arise from the degree of danger appre- 
hended. It is observed by General Roy, that the castra 
in which the Romans made no great stay, have, in gene- 
ral, " only a weak intrenchment, the ditch being about eight 
feet broad, and six feet deep ; with a parapet behind it, four or 
five feet in height. The camps of a more lasting nature, ia 
which they continued for a considerable space of time together, 
and perhaps even used again and again, have a broader and 
deeper ditch, and a rampart proportionably stronger." 

But the castrametations of the Romans are, in some instances, 
of a character not comprehended in either of the above descrip- 
tions. The most prominent and curious variations consist of 
camps in which the want of natural strength, on certain exposed 
sides, is remedied by the formation of multiplied fosses of a great 
depth, with ramparts of a correspondent height between them ;f 
and of such small earth-works as are found on elevated, or open, 
situations, near other Roman military works, and are confidently 
supposed to have acted as posts of observation, being thence 
termed exploratori/ camps. ,,,- mI.-^ •^lyu't-' li^'lj^J b^ 

Mr. Whitaker observes, on the authority of Vegetius,^ that 
the Romans appear to have frequently constructed small fort- 
resses in the vicinity of their stations, for the protection of their 


• Military Antiq. p. 42. 

f These deviations from conirnon practice cliiefly occur in camps formed 
by Agricola, in the north. Vide the plates, and erudite letter-press accom- 
paniment, in General Roy's work on the Military Antiquities of the Romans. 

X Hist, of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 231, et seq. apud Vegetius, lib. iii. 
c. 8, &c* 


eattie iii the pastures, and the security and accommodation of 
their convoys on tiie roads. This remark^ foiuided as it is ou 
the teslim<iiiy of Vegetius, may enabie the investigator to ac- 
count for the remains of small works, near thoseof a large 
Roman cam|), when so situated as to render it improbable that 
they originally formed part of a castrametation used for explora- 
tory purposes. 

The most stupeudoHS military vestige of the Romans in this 
island, falls under no head of classification, and is equally pecu- 
liar, surprising, and magnificent. — It will be readily apprehend- 
ed that 1 allude to the rampart usually denominated the icall of 
Sevcrus ;* that strong and lofty barrier, which the Romans cou> 
structed from sea to sea, as a protection for the allied inhabi- 
tants of the south against the ferocious, unconquered, tribes of the 
north. This great line of defence extends from the mouth of the 
liver Tyne, on the east, to Solway firth, on the west; and, iu 
its progress over the long tract of intervening country, formerly 
exhibited curiuus instances of the Roman art of fortification, in 
regular stations, guarded by walls and ditches; and iu castella 
and turrets, placed along the wall at given distances. It is now 
rapidly approaching to a state of utter demolition. Its turrets 
aud castella are no more; but the site of these, and of the sta- 
tions, is often discernible, from an inequality in the surface, or 
an occasional trace of foundation. A Roman road accompauied 
itiis great work. 

Roman Roads.— Conspicuous in every branch of political 
(Economy, the Romans evinced peculiar grandeur of design, and 
unrivalled skill and industry, in the construction of their roads. 
Aware that the progress of civilization, through its several de- 
grees, even to the last refinements of politeness, depended greatly 

M oa 

• For a desciiptiou of the wall ofSeverus, and some particulars respect- 
ing itsbistory, the reader is referred to the Beauties f>r the couutie* of Nor- 
tfauuberlaad and Cumberland. 


on a facility of interchange, they, in an early as?e, and with ao 
obvious policy, rendered coramunicaliou easy in the neighbour- 
hood of the seat of empire. In succeeding periods it became a 
point of family competition to impart grandeur to these great 
channels of traffic; and the name of a benefactor was united witli 
the beauty and durable character of the thoroughfare which was 
constructed by his liberality. Such were the well known Appian 
and Flaminian ways. 

This great people were actuated by the same spirit of policy, 
in the organization of their foreign conquests. — Often disregarded 
even by their own historians, the precise steps and extent of 
their victories would, perhaps, be little known to modern ages, 
if they had not marked the advancement of their sway by roads, 
evidently formed with so much patient labour as to evince a se- 
curity of inhabitation. In no province of that powerful empire 
which once engrossed the whole of the European world, are the 
vestiges of these great works more frequent than in Britain. 
They are discovered in every district of the island that was visit- 
ed by the imperial arms ; and, whilst they point to the extent 
and locality of the Roman population in Britain, they afford 
documents equally interesting to the antiquary and the histo- 

It has been found impossible to ascertain the exact periods at 
which these roads were constructed. Dr. Stukeley conjectures 
that the Ermyn (or, as he terms it, the Hermen) street was 
that first formed ; and he attributes the work to the reign of 
Nero ;* while Horsley contends that most of the military waya 
in Britain were probably laid down by AgricoIa;t and in such 
an opinion the latter ingenious author has been followed by many 
antiquarian writers. But it would certainly appear to be likely 
that the first road adapted to military passage, by the Romans iu 
Britain, was that which led from Richborough, on the track of 
the British Watling Street, to Loiiddiki ; as that road presents the 


• Irin. Cur. p. S. f Brit. Rom. p. SST. 


line of their earliest victories io this island. Accessions of road 
were probably made by ditf'erent commanders, on the attainment 
of new conquests; and, thus, each successful legate is entitled to 
a portion of the eaerit, arising from the completion of works so 
great and regular. 

The disputable priority of the Roman station or its attached 
roadj has also constituted a subject of antiquarian discussion, 
and is thus noticed by Mr. Whitaker: " In a country like this, 
where forests must have risen, and morasses have spread, be- 
twixt station and station, roads must have been nearly as neces- 
sary as stations, and were certainly, therefore, nearly cotempo- 
rary with them. As the Romans prosecuted their conquests 
within the island, they must, also, have multiplied their stations^ 
and extended their roads. The stations were certaiuly prior, and 
the roads were tiie channels of cmnmunication between them. 
Many of the stations must have neressaril5 commenced during 
the very conquest of the country ; and ail of them at the conclu- 
sion of it. And the roads could not have been constructed till 
the first, or second, summer after both."* 

It has been already observed, in my notice of the vestiges of 
the early Britons, that several British roads were adopted by the 
Romans, and improved by that people, accordii:g to the modes 
of their greater experience and superior skill. The principal of 
these have been enumerated in that section of the work ; but, 
when we remember the great number of British towns which were 
retained by the Romans, and fortified by them as stations or set« 
tlemenls, we may readily believe that many roads, now supposed 
to be purely Roman, were really forme<l in the hue of previous 
British trackways. If it were possible for this conjecture to b» 
satisfactorily aulhenticated, the result would be curious and highly 
interesting; as it would te:ul towards the enlargement of our 
notions, respecting the civil arrangements of the first known in- 
habitants of this island. 

M 2 The 

• Hist, of Manclieiter, Vol. I. p. 118. 


The most distinguished and estimable feature in the arrange- 
ment of roads made by the Romans, is their continuance in a 
direct course, or in as straight a line, from place to place, as 
liatural circumstances v.'ill permit. The Romans worked with 
the hand of conquest, and private objections were of little avail 
when preferred by the tributary. The unenclosed state of Bri- 
tain, at least in districts remote from the southern coast, like- 
wise faroured the attainment of such a directness of course, with- 
out any important injury to the possessions of a tribe, or of in- 
dividuals. — But the claims, or feelings, of discomfited nations 
were of little consideration with the invaders, while laying out 
the track of such great military thoroughfares, as were intended 
to assist in completing the task of subjugation. All but such 
natural obstacles as were quite superior to the efforts of human 
skill and labour, yielded to their perseverance: and we find (to 
use the words of a writer whose remark is founded on actual in- 
vestigation) " that all Roman roads run invariably in a straight 
line, except where they meet with some local impediment, such 
as a steep mountain or a deep ravine ; or where they bend out of 
tlieir general direction, to approach or leave a station, or to throw 
off some vicinal road.*'* 

It will be readily apprehended that extraordinary laboar was 
bestowed on the construction of roads, which have proved so 
durable. — The Roman military road in Britain, consisted of ai> 
artificial fabric, composed of chalk, pebble-stones, or gravel, 
raised to a considerable height above the level of the natural soil. 
These materials were often brought fi-om a distant tract of coun- 
try; and instances are yet to be seen of the road rising to the 
height often feet, in a crest of emphatical but deserted grandeur. 
The occurrence of so great an elevation was most frequent on 
heaths, covered with low, stabbed, (or pollard) oaks ; and it is 
conjectured by an ingenious writer on the subject of Roman anti- 

• Per. Mr. Leman, on tlie Roman roads, tec. Introduction to Nicliol»*s 
Hist, ol Leicestershire, p. 14f ■ 


tquiticii, that such was the aspect of a great part of Britain, ia 
the early periods of the Roman ascendancy ; and that the forest 
trees in the vicinity of a great military thoronglifare, were thus 
decapitated to facilitate the security of an army on its march, by 
revealing the recesses of the surrounding country and precluding 
the danger of surprise.* 

The most considerable of the Roman ways were paved with 
stones; but it would not appear to be likely, as is conjectured 
by Mr. Whitaker, that none, except sncli as were so paved, 
were intended for the transit of carts and waggons. Where the 
surface did not consist of large paving stones, it was composed 
of gravel; and the durability of the road was greatly assisted 
by excellent drains, disposed with much care and jude:Hieut.-|- 

From the preceding observations, the reader will scarcely (ai 
to imbibe a favourable idea, as to the skill and perseverance ex- 
ercised by the Romans, in the construction of their principal 
mediums of communication. But it is desirable to notice some 
objections which have been made to this persuasion, especially 
as they ])roceed from so respectable a pen as that of the historian 
of Manchester. 

After asserting that the chief excellence of the Roman roads 
consists in the directness of their course, Mr. Whitaker observes 
that these roads " appear not to have been constructed upon the 
most sensible principles, in general." In support of this opi- 
nion, he notices certain points of two roads in I<ancasliire, in one 
of which the road is "a mere coat of sand and gravel, the sand 
very copious, and the gravel weak, and not compacted together 

M 3 with 

• No motive, but that of obtaining a view of the adjace.^t tract of coun- 
try, and thereby preventing the danger ot a suddcu attack from ambushed 
natives, has been ascribed as the probable cause of the Romans raising their 
roads to »o great a height, even ou a firm soil not subject to floods. Vide 
remarks on Roman roads, prefixed to the Hist, of Hertfordshire. 

+ For more copious information concerning t'ne construction of Roman 
roads, the reader is referred to Bcrgier't Uistoire Des Grands Chemins Df 
^' Empire Romain, ^t. 


with aivy incorporateil cement." In the other instance, the 
road " is only a heap of loose earth and rock, laid together in a 
beautiful convexity, and ready to yield and open on any sharp 
compression from the surface. Such," continues Mr. Whitaker, 
" could never have been designed for the passage of the cart and 
waggon, as they must soun have been furrowed to the bottom by 
the wheels, or crushed into the ground by the load, and rendered 
absolutely impassable by either. But for these rough service* 
they were not intended. — Both of them, though the one was con- 
jBtructed for the great western way into the north, and the other 
was the line of communication between Chester and York, were 
plainly intended merely for the walker, the rider, and the beast 
of burden. 

" The only roads that seem to have been designed for the 
waggon and the cart, are such as were regularly paved with 
boulders. But as this alleviates not the censure upon the nar- 
rowness of the roads, so the paving of them is obviously an awk- 
il^ard expedient at the best. And this appears sufficiently from 
those boasted remains of the Romans, the Appian and Flaminiao 
ways, in Italy, which are so iiitolt rably rough and hard that the 
travellers, as often as they can, turn off from them, and journey 
*long the (racks at their borders."* 

The circumstance of many of the Roman roads in Britain 
having continued to the present time, and some in excellent pre* 
servalion, Mr. Whitaker supposes to havfe arisen chiefly "froai 
the early deiiertion of such particular roads by the Britons and 
Saxons; new ways being laid, for new reasons, to the same 
towns ; or the towns being destroyed, and the ways unfrequented." 
He concludes his objections in the following words : " But had 
they been always laid in right lines, always constructed with a 
sufficient breadth, and never paved with stone; had the mate- 
rials been bound together by some incorporated cement ; and had 
they been all cajculat^d te receive carts and bear waggons, they 


• ^ist. of Mancherter, p. 228. 


aiuBt still be acknowledged to have one essential defect rn tbein. 
They almost constantly crossed the rivers of the island, not at 
bridges, but at shallows, or fords, some of which nature had 
planted, and others art supplied. And, in this stite of the roads, 
the travelling upon theni must have been infinitely precarious, 
regulated by the rains and controuled by the floods."* 

These opinions are entitled to respectful consideration, as they 
proceed from a writer who is often eminently judicious in his re- 
marks. But it would appear that Mr. Whitaker, when treatin^f 
generally of Roman roads, hazarded theoretical speculations 
founded on local and circumscribed inspection.— Deriving my in- 
formation from a learned correspondent, who has personally in- 
vestigated the principal Roman roads throughout Britain, and 
w^ho has greatly assisted in elucidating this branch of antiquarian 
research, t I venture to assert, with boldness, that it was scarcely 
possible for noore skill and judgment to have been displayed ia 
such works, than w«re evinced by the Roman engineers, in draw- 
ing the line to avoid all local inconvenience, or in completing 
the road when the outline was thus carefully formed. Mr. Whita- 
ker's objection, as to the want of contpactness in construction, 
may, perhaps, have arisen from the notice of some particular 
point, in whifh the road was not completed according to the ori- 
ginal intention; or, as is more probable, from the view of a tract 
where the surface had been removed by innovation. That th«' 
principal roads were, originally, of great width, is unquestion- 
able, although, in many instances, they have been made narrow 
by the depredations of those who have removed the soil from 
both tides ; as may be clearly perceived in the Foss-way near 

M 4 Bath. 

♦ Hist, of Manchester, p. 229. Dr. Stiikelej' (Itin. Cur. p. 7Z.) riewi this 
presumed defect in su different a light, that he praises the Romans "for 
niaiiing few bridges, as liable to decaj, and for lairing fords with great skill 
and labour, man^ of which remain firm to this day." 

^ Tlie Rev. Thomas Lemaxi, whose iitermry favours I bavt already fre- 
quently acknowledged. 


Bath. — It may be observed, that the Appian and Flamiiiian ways 
■were rough, only when out of repair, and ne|2;lected. 

But in Bo part of his objections has Mr. Hhitaker fallen into ft 
g;"eat6r error, than when he asserts that the Roman ways crossed 
rivers at Fords only, and not by Bridges. It is observed by 
the accurate examitier to whom I am indebted for the points of 
this reply to the remarks of Mr. Whitaker, that his investiga- 
tions have produced only one instance in wliich there is an ap- 
pearance of having been originally a ford, and not a bridge; 
and, even in this instance, a doubt remains as tosvhether that 
which appeared to be an artificial ford, migiit not have been the 
foundation of a bridge. — The bridges having been destroyed by 
the barbarians, who succeeded to the Romans, we may readily 
suppose that the people who still continued the course of such 
mutilated road.«, turned to the next ford ; and, hence, the com- 
pulsory deviation may have been mistaken for the original track. 
Instances of such an unavoidable dereliction of i.ncient pathway, 
may be seen on the road from Sarum to Dorchester, and on the 
road from Cambridge towards the banks of the Nen. 

It must be noticed, as a curious and strongly marked feature, 
that the Romans invariably constructed tumuli, or barrows, on 
the sides of their great roads in Britain. These " are found on 
every .eminence in the line of road, unless they have been since 
destroyed ; and, generally, the two successive ones in siglit of 
each other (as the direction, probably, by which the engineer 
originally laid out the road) as well as at all those places where 
any vicinal road branched off from the great street, or paved 
way, to some dependant camp or inferior station."* 

It will he seen, from the notices presented in different volumes 
of the Beauties of England and Wales, that the present state of 
tjie Roman roads varies much in different counties. Extensive 
vestiges of the bold round causeway, which was constructed 
aiong the principal lines of these ways, are still perceptible ir^ 


t f pb3«rvation« on the Roman roads in Leicestershire, &c. 


many parts of the islan<1; while, in others, all traces are oBIite- 
rate<l by the operation of the plough ; or all marks of Roman 
workmanship are lost, in the alternute traffic and repairs of suc- 
cessive ages.— In tracts, however, where the ridije has been re- 
moved, but the road deserted as a clianiiel of traffic, the former 
line of transit is frequently discovered, by the failure of the corn 
or grass; and, on penetrating the soil, to the depth of a foot or 
more, the ancient paving is often found, in a massy bed beneath 
the reach of the husbandman's plonghshare. 

Whilst ennmerating the most prominent marks by which the 
remains of Roman roads are generally to be distinguished, it may 
be desirable to present the following observation of the writer to 
whose discrimination 1 am so greatly indebted in several pre- 
ceding pages. — In regard to the investigator of Roman ways, 
who is intent on tracing the line, or continuation, of a particular 
road, " great caution must he used, lest the person should be 
misled by roads having the same name with the one he is 
exploring ; as generally all roads, or lanes, leading to suck 
general road, are called by the name of the great road, or 
street, itself. Thus, at Leicester, the lane which leads to the 
Foss is called the Foss: thus, at Cirencester, the great road 
which comes from Winchester by Wanborough, in the part near 
Cirencester [through which the Foss itself passes] is called 
The Foss Road, though in a contrary direction from the gene- 
ral bearing of the Foss. And the same road near Winchester 
is called the Ikenield Street, though in a quite contrary bear- 
ing to that great British way, because it led to it. Many 
other instances may be given, because such mistakes exist about 
every station."* 

It may also be noticed that the lines of the great public Roman 
r*ads are generally accompanied by towns, or villages, bearing 
names significative of their former situation on a well-known and 
important highway; as Stretton, Stratford, Streatley, &c. or 


P Rer. Tliomas Leman on Koman roads, &c. Nichols's Leicestershire. 


appellatioBs compounded of the word Street, or Strat, and ano- 
ther name, as Vfford Street ; or of the British word Sam, as 
Shamford, or Shamcote. 

It is said by Camden, on the authority of Ulpian and Fronti- 
BBS, that the Romans gave to the great roads the name of Viee 
eensulares, PrcetoricE, Miiitares, Publiccc, Cursus publici, and 
Actus ; or consular, praetorian, military, and public ways. A 
eoDcise definition of their distinctive character is presented by a 
modern writer in the succeeding words : " They were, in fact, 
the public roads of those times, and distinguished from the com- 
mon roads, by being formed, and covered with proper materials 
of different kinds for the convenience of travellers, as our present 
public roads are." 

Besides tbe great public ways, formed and preserved under the 
care of the Roman government, minor, or Vicinal, roads, lead- 
ing betweeu respective military stations and towns, intersected 
this island in every direction. Many of these have been traced 
by antiquarian zeal, and the course of the most important is 
noticed in difiereut volumes of the " Beauties," and is delineated 
in our map; but it is observed by the Bishop of Cloyne, in 
a note on the History of Leicestershire, tiiat Roman Britain 
probably contained oiany more roods, as well as towns, tbaa 
has been generally imagined. And such wwild, indeed, ap- 
pear to be the fact. — When it is remembered that we depend 
for our notions of the Roman population of Britain, or at least 
for oar estimate of the chief Roman stations and towns, on tite 
itineraries of writers who do not profess to penetrate and display 
the wlrole of Roman Britain ; we may believe, without scrople, 
that we ordinarily imbibe a deficient idea of the number of 
Roman towns, and places of inhabitation, in this island. The 
remains of multifarious Roman residences, in places remote from 
tracts noticed by the itineraries, indeed prove this fact, without 
any labour at correlative demonstration. And, since we know 
the value placed by Ibis active and polished people on a facility 
iof communiGation, ve may justly conclude that their roads 



equally exceeded in number tlic common standard of calculation ; 
and that many ways really originated with the Romans^ which 
now Bear few decisive marks of their customary mode of con- 

Four of the great public, or military, ways of the Romans, 
were distinguished above the others at a very early period. The 
laws of £dward the Confessor compreiiend regulations concern- 
ing' the four great highways named " Wat ling Stre'e, Foss, 
Ikenield-Strete, and Ermmg-Strete ;" and it has been gene- 
rally 8up|)osed by historians that the above legal enumeration 
acted safely as a guide to the antiquary, and that Britain was, 
in fact, intersected by four principal roads only, each of which 
formed one long single line across the island. 

But it is evident, on a more minute investigation, that such 
an opinion was founded on too narrow a principle. Mr. Rey- 
nolds, in his introduction to the Itinerary of Antoninus, in- 
creases the number to six, and is willing " to describe them, 
not as consisting of single lines only, but as dividing them- 
selves into several branches, each of which it is not only natural, 
but very convenient, to consider under the general name which 
has hitherto been confined to a single line."* — But, if the work 
of this pleasing commentator had resulted from ocular examina- 
tion, rather than from ingenious theory, be would have found 
cause for believing that even the augmented number which be 
has adopted, is much too limited. 

It is, indeed, proved by the labours of those judicious anti- 
quaries who have, in late years, directed their attention to this 
interesting pursuit, and have profited by opportunity and leisure, 
in reducing the argument to the only satisfactory test [that of 
personal investigation] that it must be futile to name any defi- 
nite number of principal roads ; as positive traces of such, with 
remains of attendant stations, are discovered in various direc- 
tions unknown to theoretical writers, and quite distinct from the 


* Iter Britanniarum, &c. p. $3, 


four great ways rendered celebrated by the laws of Edward the 
Confessor.* There is, likewise, fair reason for supposing that, 
from the late period at which this branch of antiquarian enquiry 
has been seriously and judiciously adopted, many such roads 
mast have been obliterated by the increasing cultivation of the 

It is not necessary to attempt, in this place, the arduous task 
of ascertaining the progress of these numerous causeways, through 
the particular districts of the island which they visited, in their 
straight and bold course. - Their frequent appearance, in various 
parts of every county, is noticed in the respective volumes of the 
Bf^auties of England and Wales ; and to those pages, aided by 
our map of Roman Britain, the reader is referred for more mi- 
nute information concerning their present state and probable 

But it is desirable to offer a few observations, in regard to 
those roads of Roman construction, which have fortuitously ob- 
tained a pre-eminent celebrity, and are rendered familiar, as 
to name, by the notice which they have received from the 
laws of Edward the Confessor, and by the attention of early 

It will be remembered that the Romans, in forming their roads 
throughout this island, usually adopted the trackways of the 
ancient British inhabitants, as to the leading objects of their des- 
tination, although they improved on their course, by straighten- 
ing the winding lines of their precursors. It may, indeed, be 
received as unquestionable, that nearly all the principal British 
ways were adopted by the Romans, with the exceptions of the 
eastern part of the Icknield Street, and the Saltways. — Thus, 
three of the great " streets"! mentioned in the laws of llie Con- 

* The correctness of tl»is assertion will not be denied, on an inspection 
ef the map of Roman roads and stnUons in Britain, attached to this section 
«f onr work. 

+ The Roman roads are termed Stiatae, or Streets, bj Bede ; and th« 
term has been adopted by sncceeding writers. 


feasor, and thence treated with so much distinction by antiqua- 
rian writers, were, assuredlvt raised in the line of previous 
British thoroughfares; and I have already noticed tlie probability 
of the fourth [tite Foss] having also beeu first laid out by the 
original possessors of the country. — Many particulars, as to the 
course of these roads, and their connexion with the towns of an- 
cient Britain, and with some principal stations of the country, 
•when under the Roman sway, may, tlierefore, be obtained by a 
reference to the account of British Trackways, given in a pre- 
Tious Rection. 

It cannot be recollected, without surprise, that the real length 
of the Roman mile has not been ascertained, by any of the 
numerous learned persons who have bestowed attention on that 
subject. So utter is the wreck, of that empire, which once mea- 
sured all Europe with its own foot and pace, and divided king- 
doms by the arbitrary marks on ils standard rule! 

Arbuthnot, iu his comparison of ancient and modern measures, 
has adopted the opinion of several previous writers of emiuence, 
and considers the proportion between the old Roman mile and 
the English mile, as 967 to 1000. General Roy supposes that 
eleven English miles will make lOS feet more than twelve 
Roman. Burton, on the contrary, thought the Roman foot, or 
standard measure of length, larger than the English. — Drawing 
his estimate of the Roman mile from the distances noticed be- 
tween different towns by Antoninus, as co.'npared with the mea- 
sures of the present time. Mr.' Reynolds, in his Introduction to 
the Itinerary of Antoninus, conjectures that the ancient Roman 
mile, and the modern English, were, iu fact, measures of the 
same length. 

It will obviously occur to the reader, that the point iu dis- 
pute might be decided in a simple and easy manner, by mea- 
suring the distance between two milliary columns on any known 
Roman road. But it is to be lamented that such a mode of deci- 
sion has hitherto proved impracticable, in regard to this island. 
So far from the existence of two Roman mile stones having been 



ascertained, in their original situations, on the same read, only 
one has been found on a site accurately known to have been that 
which it first occupied. This is the milliary discovered near 
Leicester, and noticed in the Beauties for that county.* 

The destruction of these curious road-marks of Roman mea> 
surement, has not been so general in France and Italy. Many 
milliary columns still exist in those countries ; and it is observed, 
in the Commentary on the Itinerary of Richard, that Danville 
has adduced three instances in Languedoc, in which the dis* 
tances between them, when accurately measured, afibrd an aver- 
age of 754 toises and two feet. This result is confirmed by a 
comparison with the Roman foot, still preserved in the capitol; 
" but, unfortunately, such a mensuration does not lessen the dif' 
ficulties of the English antiquary ; for the distance between any 
two of our known stations, if measured by this standard, dis- 
agrees, in almost every instance, with the numbers of the Itine- 
raries. Different conjectures have been advanced, to solve this 
difficulty. One, supported by the respectable opinion of Horsley, 
is, that the Romans measured only the horizontal distance, with- 
out regarding the inequalities of the surface; or that the space 
between station and station was ascertained from maps accurately 
constructed. This idea receives some support, from a fact ac- 
knowledged by every British antiquary, namely, that the Itine- 
rary miles bear a regular proportion to the English miles on 
plains, but fall short of them in hilly grounds. "f 

After a notice of military antiquities, Ihe chief vestiges of the 

Romans in Britain may be classed under the following heads: 

Traces of Domestic Structures, including Tessel* 

LATED Pavements; Coins; Altars; and other inscribed 

Stones, and pieces of Sculpture ; Sepulchres, and 

Funeral Vessels. 


• Beauties for Leicestershire, p. 333 — 335. SeCj also, an Essay on this 
Milliary, by the Rev. G. A&hby, in the introductory volume of Nichob's Hist, 
of Leicestershire. 

* Comm^Dtarj on the Itinerary of Ricliaid, p. 108. 


An extensive dissertation on each of these classes of Roman 
antiquities, is incompatible with the sciieme of this Introduction; 
but I present some succinct remarks, calculated to convey general 
notions respecting the whole; and append a reference to some 
few pages of the " Beauties/* containing a description of inter* 
esting specimens. 

When we contemplate the great labour bestowed by the 
Romans on those public ways throughout Britain, which they 
either entirely constructed, or adopted and improved; and re- 
member the massy character of the walls by which many of their 
settlements were surrounded ; we are induced to suppose that 
vestiges of Roman grandeur, connected with religious ceremony, 
with tlie official solemnities of magisterial decision, or even sucU 
as relate merely to domestic architecture, must be frequently 
discovered in an island which they so long victorionsly occupied. 
But enquiry disappoints this expectation. In fact, scarcely any 
relics of their great public edifices, commensurate with our ideas 
of Roman magnificence, now exist, or are satisfactorily noticed 
in antiquarian record ; while the vestiges of their domestic archi- 
tecture are chiefly confined to indistinct traces of the ground 
plan, and some few particulars of internal arrangement. 

This paucity of tangible vestigia, or defect in circumstances 
of ocular demonstration, is considered, by many writers on the 
subj«et of the Roman occupation of this island, not to imply a 
probable deficiency in actual grandeur. But others have viewed 
it as a fair cause of scepticism; and Mr. King, .in his Munimenta 
Antiqua, has ventured on a protest of unequivocal disbelief. 
This antiquary coutends, that if the Romans had really con* 
structed in Britain many splendid structures of stone and brick, 
" some other di$>tinguished fragments must have remained, as 
well as those few that have, from time to time, actually been 
discovered, at Bath; or preserved at Dover; or at Leicester; 
or in the walls of the Castra at Richboruagh, Portcbester, and 
Pevensey ; or near the great wall of Severus."* 


* King's Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. II. p. 16?. 


The same mode of reasontng is adopted by Mr. Essex, 'vrh» 
remarks, " that it may be doubted whether all that has been said 
of those fine structures which in the Komau times adorned Bri* 
tain be true ; there being no remains of temples or porticos, nor 
of the bases, shafts, or capitaU of the columns which once 
adorned them "* 

It is scarcely necessary to observe that Mr. King, although 
always a writer of considerable research, and often of great dis- 
crimination, was subject to the guidance of certain favourite no- 
tions, which were so firmly impressed on his mind, that be la- 
boared, on sentiment, to humble or to exalt, according as the 
subject of discussion clashed, or coincided, with his prevalent 
feeling. The degradation of the pa^a^i Romans was, probably, 
'with such a writer, an achievement gratifying to conscience ; and 
the relish which he had imbibed in his youth for classical ele- 
gance, in vain interposed a persuasive towards moderation. 
' It is, however, probable that the Roman structures in Britain 
were much inferior to such as may be expected by the enquirer, 
fiho forms bis ideas of Roman magnificence on a consideration 
of the buildings which adorned the seat of empire. The Romans 
inhabited Britain as a foreign colony ; and those who expatriated 
for its colonization were chitfiy of the military profession. As- 
suredly, it was not to such a spot that the distinguished Roman 
artist would repair for the exercise of his skill. But the con- 
querors occupied the southern parts of the island for so long a 
term, and were so. intent on evincing to the Britons a due notion 
of their superiority in the elegancies of life, that it would be 
with difficulty we supposed no structures, at once of imposing 
splendour and probable durability, were raised by them, in dis- 
tricts contentedly subject to their sway. 

A reference to writers who flourished in the ages of Roman 
ascendancy, or in periods not far distant, is obviously desirable 
iu the adjustment ef a contrariety of opinions on this subject. 


• ArcfasBologia, Vol. IV. p. 79. 


Such opportunities of appeal are not frequent, but the inCunnation 
derived is of considerable weight. 

Tacitus, when noticing the prodigies which were said to have 
preceded the destruction of Camulodunum, the first Roman co- 
lony in Britain, nieutions the fall of the statue of Victory, in 
the hall of public business; and the dismal cries which were 
heard in tiie theatre. The temple of Claudius, in this devoted 
city, is noticed in a subsequent passage of the " Annals," as a 
building of great eminence ; and it is well known to have been of 
sufficient dimensions and strength, to induce the garrison to take 
shelter there from the assault of Boadicia and her numerous 

The same writer informs us, that Agricola anxious to commu- 
nicate Roman customs to the Britons, instructed and assisted 
them " in the building of houses, temples, courts, and market- 
places. By praising the diligent, and reproaching the indolent, 
he excited so great an emulation among the Britons, that, after 
they had erected all those necessary edifices in their towns, they 
proceeded to buifd others mtrtly for ornament and pleasure j as 
porticos, calleries, baths, banqnetting-houses, &c."* 

The testimony of Giraldus Cambrensis, although it bears re- 
ference to so low a date as the reign of Henry the Second, is entitled 
to attentive consideration. In a topographical notice of Caerleon, 
he observes that " this city was handsomely built of brick by the 
Romans; and many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be 
seen. Immense palaces, ornamented with gilded roofs, in imita- 
tion of Roman magnificence; a tower of prodigious size; re- 
markable hot-baths, relics of temples ; and theatres enclosed 
within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find 
on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, 
subterraneous vaults and aqueducts; and, what I think worthy of 
notice, stoves, contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat 
insensibly through narrow tubes."t 

N Mr. 

• Tacit. Vita Agric. c. 21. 
♦ Tran^Utioa of Giraldus by Sir R. Coit Hoare, VoL I. p. 103—4. 


Mr. King supposes the descriptive terms of Giraldus to be 
founded on a comparison between the buildings of the Romans 
and those of the " rude, unpolished, Britons;" and while he al- 
lows the superiority of the former, he still considers them not to 
have risen above a mediocrity of character. The turrim gigan- 
teum, or tower of prodigious size, mentioned by Giraldus, he 
believes to have been not properly of Roman construction, but 
some great roundkeep, more likely to have been the work of the 

On the other hand, Mr. Lysons considers the account handed 
down by Giraldus to be of considerable importance ; and observes 
that " there is reason to believe very considerable remains of the 
Roman buildings in Britain existed as late as the reign of Henry 
the Second, when the greater part of them were destroyed for 
the purpose of erecting churches, castles, and other edifices, out 
of their materials ; many of them had, doubtless, been before de- 
stroyed, for the same purpose, by the Normans."t 

Although Mr. King may, possibly, be correct when he supposes 
the great tower at Caerleon to have been in reality, a Normaa 
keep, we still find, in the memorable description of Giraldus, a 
notice of fragmentary buildings which, from their strongly- 
marked character, were unquestionably Roman. Here we trace 
"the positive former existence of splendid vestiges, which have 
BOW entirely disappeared. | 

The wear of years, and the destructive assaults of sordid hands, 


• Muniinenta Antiqua, Vol. II. p. 182. 
:. . ♦ Account of Roman Antiquities at Woodchester, by Samuel Ljsons, F.R.S. 

aad A.S. p. 19. 
% A curious instance of the known cxis^tence of important Roman building;!, 

and of the almost total absence of ornamented vestigia, occurs in a Discourse 
"by Mr, Gale, inserted in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. XXX. — The 

object of this essay is the communication of tntelligence respecting t#<y in- 
.scriptions found at Lanr/iesfer, in the bishopric of Durham; and it appears, 

from one of these, that Gordian the Third erected hahieutn cum busilica. Bu{ 

undistinguishtd " great heaps of rubbish and ruins," only, were found in th* 

vBcioity of this eomroemoratire inscriptioB. 


ttlmost insensible in operation (bat, however slow, still more 
fatal in effect than the conquering battle-axe and firebrand) must, 
in themselves, have proved sufficient to annihilate the rich frag- 
ments of a host of Roman cities, in the course of thirteen cen-i 
turies. From these causes we find the walls and the roads of the 
Romans decomposed through the greater part of their tracks, 
and the materials gone, far beyond the keen eye of antiquarian' 
research. This effect has taken place, even in situations of little 
traffic; and the superior injuries likely to have been inflicted oa 
more busy spots, will be readily admitted. Independent of a sys- 
tem of destruction so slow in progress, the ruin produced by the 
severity of the barbarous tribes which conquered the Roman pro- 
vinces, was often overwhelming and complete. — The savage To* 
tila, afler taking Rome, was prepared with engines for the an' 
nihilation even of the imperial city itself; and was prevented from 
carrjing such a design into execution, only by the generous re- 
monstrances of Belisarius. 

For actual intelliy^ence of the Romans having constructed no- 
merous mai^niificent buildings in Britain, it is certain that we 
chiefly depend on the assertions of Tacitus. But the natural 
probability of the circumstance is so great, as almo&^t to amount 
to rational conviction. In regard to the disappearance of nearly 
all fragments of such edifices, the following remark may, perhaps, 
be deemed of some weight. — The principal connexion of the Ro- 
mans with this island, was, through many ages, of a military 
cast; and we have still several instances remaining of the great 
strength with which they constructed their fortifications. When 
we reflect on the large number of their military works, so 
strong and well -calculated to brave the assaults of time, which 
have yielded to petty depredation, and are no more; we may rea- 
dily imagine that the vestiges of buildings for civil purposes, 
were not likely to survive the shock of so maiiy centuries, but 
have lost their character under the hands of the mason, or have 
sunk to entire obliteration in the wear of more sordid uses. 

Nor are we entirely destitute of proofs, that edifices of con- 
N 2 siderablc 


siderable splendour were really erected by the Romans iu this island". 
At Bath [Aquoe Sulisi have been discovered, and are there pre- 
served with due care, many fragments of decorated stone buildings, 
consisting of parts of columns, pediments, cornices, friezes, &c. 
The most considerable portions of these are supposed to have 
belonged to two temples, of much architectural elegance; one 
being of the Corinthian order.* Few disputants will contend for 
the probability of such structures being confined to one Roman 
station, however great its importance. 

The discoveries made at Woodchester prove that the Romans 
used columns, and various sculptured ornam«nts, even in their 
provincial domestic architecture. The remains of building there 
developed, would appear ta proclaim, decisively, the substantial 
and superb character of the Romo-British villa of a superior class. 
Accident has, likewise, disclosed the fragments of other villse, 
though of a less important description ; and we are justified in 
kelieying, with the judicious illustrator of the anliquitiesi at 
Woodchester, that the plans of many more might yet be traced, 
although iheir superstructures are defaced in Britain, beyoud the 
example of any other province of the Roman empire.f 

Traces of Domestic Structures, including Tessbl- 
LATED Pavements. — It will be perceived, from the above re- 
marks, that few vestiges of the domestic buildings of the Romans, 
evincing an attractive degree of splendour, are recorded to have 
been discovered on the site of their principal cities and towns in Bri- 
tain, The remains hitherto known to have been disclosed, are, in- 
deed, chiefly confined to mutilated hypocausts and tessellated pave- 

• See an acconnt of these interesting vestiges, in a publication hy Mr. S. 
Ljsons, intituled " Remains of two Temples, and other Roman Antiquities, 
discovered at Bath ;" also in Warner's " History of Bath," &c. In the for- 
mer workj are restored elevations of those parts of the buildings to which the 
fragments relate. 

+ See nianj' remarks on the subject of Roman domestic architecture, in Mt. 
L\«ons's account of Roman Antiquities at Woodchester, &c. 


meuts. The encroachments of subsequent buildings, have pre> 
eluded all hope of ascertaining the extent and character of even 
one domus, or town-dwelling, throughoul the whole of the cities 
formerly occupied by the Romans ; and the principal traces of their 
domestic structures are discovered in places at a considerable dis- 
tance from their stations. 

lo sequestered situations— in the sheltered yalley, or on th« 
weII-woo«led brow of upland — are often found vestigia of domest 
tic buildings, unquestionably formed and inhabited by that po- 
lished people. The Romans, from the timt^ of Lncuilus, down 
to the days of their descendants now living, have evinced a 
partiality for occasional abodes, of a retired and rural character. 
Such a taste appears to have been conspicuous in the Roman 
•fiicers who commanded in Britain; and the remains of many 
of their villae have been discovered, in the recent ages favourable 
to antiquarian record. 

Several modern writers have used much labour to prove that 
the country seats of the Romans, in Britain, were of a character 
far from agreeing with our prevalent ideas, respecting the ha- 
bitual magnificence of that people.* And it would appear pro- 
bable that many of tli£ rural dwellings, constructed only for the 
purpose of occasional retirement, in a remote province of the 
empire, might not be raised with laborious care, or formed of 
the most durable materials. Mr. King argues that these build- 
ings were only light fabrics of wood, as the tessellated pave- 
ments so frequently found entire amongst their ruins, must, in- 
evitably, have been destroyed by the fall and havoc of any 
weighty substance, when the superstructure was violently razed 

N3 to 

• Foremost amongst such writers is Mr. King, wlio petulantly ohserves 
" That in most instanceSja Roman Quajstor, or Tribune, silting in his toga, n 
his movable «tr//a, in a room paved with dull, dark, and. at best, ill-luoking mo- 
saic work, did not, after all, appear with much more real splendour, as to anj 
advantages Irom the refinements of civilized life, than an old Scotch Laird, m 
Ihe Highands, sitting in his yilaid, on a joint-tiool, or on a c!iairof not much bet- 
ter construction, in the corner of his rough, lude, casti*- tower !" Maui- 
menta Autiqua, Vol. II. p. 164. 


to tlie ground. Without entering into speculative calculations 
concerning the general probability of such an effect, it may be 
observed that some of tiie Roman villte in Britain were certainly 
formed in a more substantial manner. At Woodchcster, in Glou- 
cestershire, [slightly noticed in a previous page] have betn re- 
vealed, to the height of three and four feet from the foundation, 
the frairtnents of massy walls, constructed of squared stones. 
Amongst the interesting ruins of the same building, were found 
the remains of stone columns, and of statues which had enriched 
the principal apartments,* Similar instances of the discovery of 
'fouudations of solid wall, on the site of a Roman villa, are nor 
ticed in many pages of the Beauties of England. 

From an examination of the several accounts of the traces of 
Roman villse discovered in this island, it would appear to be likely 
that such buildings were not more than one story high. The 
rooms, although often large, were seldom of such proportions as 
are deemed elegant by the moderns ; but they were, in many 
instances, ornamented with considerable care, the walls uf the 
Icmg passiiges and chief rooms being covered with stucco, and 
painted in fresco. — Marks of destruction by fire have been fre- 
quently £.scei>taiued in these domestic ruins. 

It is certain that the Romans varied the form of their ha- 
bitations, in attention to the climate and situation in which they 
resided; but the view of a Romo- British viiia may be s. pposed 
to convey a correct idea of the general character of their domestic 
arrangement, in this islaud.f Such a building we fiud to con- 

• An account of the antiquities discovered at Woodchester is presealed in 
the "Beauties" for Gloucester, p. 572, et seq The remains of other Roman 
villfis, of considerable interest, are noticed in t'le following volumes of the 
" Beauties ;" Lincolnshire, p. 658 — 9; Nortlianiptonshire, p. 6; ibid. p. 
207; KoUingharashirp, p. S96— tt ; North VValc, p. 475} South Wales, p. 

't The damns and villa, or towp and country-house, although unquestionablj 
Jhfi pnt was fitted up with more elegance than the other, contained the same 



sist of spacious halls, extensive porticos, and open courts, running 
through the centre of the structure, with suites of rooms branciiing 
out on either side. Tlie dimensions of the site occupied by a 
single distinguished villa wer^ very gresit, and such as render 
easy of comprehension the correctness of Seneca, when he oh- 
serves that the villa of an elevated Roman had the appearance of 
SI camp, rather than of a country seat. 

As vestiges of these villae [memorials of the domestic, habits 
of those who once ruled all Europe!] are noticed in many parts 
of the Beauties of England, it may not be undesirable to enu- 
merate the principal apartments into which the residence of 9. 
Roman of the upper class was divided, and the uses to which 
they were applied. 

The chief rooms were denomiuated Triclinia ; Ccenationes^ 
(Eci ; Cubicula ; Balnearea ; Exedra ; and Pinacotheca. The 
halls, porticos, and courts, were distinguished by the names of 
Vestibula ; Atria; Peristylia ; Tablina ; Cav<£dia, or Cava 
(Edium ; Porlicus ; and Cryptoporticus, 

The Triclinium, or triclinia, was the dining-room. 

The Ccenatio appears to have been a smaller eating, or supper- 
room. . V 

The (Eci were large saloons, often- adorned with columns, aui^ 
used for the purposes of dignified entertainments. ^ 

The Cubicula were bedchambers. 

The baths [balnearea] of the Romans, were constructed wilU- 
Biuch care; and, connected with these luxurious appendages of their 
▼illae, may be noticed the Apodyterium, which was a kind of 
dressing-room ; and the Laconicum, or as it was sometimes called 
Assa, or Calida sudatio, which was intended entirely for the 
purpose of sweating. Both these apartments adjoined the Tepi- 
darium, or warm bath. 

N4 The 

rooms, but difTerently distributed. lathe town-house the atvium was placed 
next to the gate of entrance ; in the country house the perhtylium, and next 
to it the atrmm, surrounded bj a paved portico. N«wton's Vitruv. Vol. J, 
Book VI. Chap. VIII, p. 141. 


The Exedra were large rooms, which are supposed to have 
leen surrounded with seats, and used for conversational pur- 

The Pinacotheca were picture-rooms; and Vitruvius directs 
them to be made of an ample magnitude. 

The hails, courts, und porticos, formed distinguished portions 
of the Roman villa. After passing the vestibule, the visitor 
entered the Peristylium, which was a large court, or area, sur- 
rounded by a colonnade. Beyond this divisiou of the structure 
was the Atrium, or hall ; which was surrounded by a paved por- 
tico. The Tnblinum is thought to have been a place appropriated 
"to the preservation of the family records.* The Cavcedia appear 
to have been sometimes large halls, and sometimes open courts, 
in the interior parts of the house, comtnunicatin*; with several 
suites of rooms, and in many respects resembling the atria.f 
The Porticus is well known to have been an open parade, orna- 
mented with pillars, and used for the exercise of walking. The 
Crypto-porticus was an enclosed gallery, in which the Romans 
walked, and took exercise, during inclement seasons. 

The booses of the Romans, from the time of Nero, were 
chiefly warmed by Hypocausts, or subterraneous flues, with fun- 
nels through the walls. It is observed by Mr. King, that "these 
hypocausts, with their flues, for the conveyance of heal, were 
of two kinds: sometimes they were constructed of small pillars, 
either square or round, a little more than two feet high, and 
placed sometimes about one foot asunder, and sometimes nearer, 
supporting the tiles or stones, on which was laid the cement for 
forming the tessellated floor of the apartment; — and sometimes 
they were constructed of flat stones, or of tiles, laid one upon 
another, each projecting a little further than that niider it, and 
by that means forming soniething like an arch, so as to have the 
jipace of each flue between them much narrower at the top than at 


• ^ewton't Vitruvius, p. 136. 
tE«maii Antiquities at Wuot]cbe»terj p. 17* ri^<|n li'*'' » 


the bottom, leaving, indeed, not more than six inches at the 
top, on which either a tile, or flat stone, was laid across, as the 
first foundation, either for a stucco, or tessellated pavement. 

" When the pillars were of iricAr,* those that were square were 
composed of flat bricks [about eight or nine inches square] laid 
one upon another, with mortar between ;— and those that were 
round were composed sometimes of flat round tiles, laid just in the 
same manner, and sometimes of semicircular tiles placed two in 
each row, with their flat edges put together, only so as to hav« 
the joiniiii; of tlie two tiles in one row, placed alternately at right 
angles with the joining of those immediately beneath them.f".- 

The Romans also warmed their houses by means of brasien 
or chaffiny:-dishes, and camini. The latter word has by some 
writers been supposed to signify a fire-place, with a chiinney, 
like those of modem dwellings. But no such erection has been 
hitherto discovered among the remains of a Roman building. X 

Tessellated pavements have been discovered in many parts of 
this island. § The Romans greatly delighted in this species of 
ornamented floor, which succeeded, as we are informed by Pliny, 
to the old painted pavements, which had their origin in Greece. 
So desirable was this mosaic work considered iu the arrangement 


* Brick was the material roost freqnentlj used ; bat in many instances the 
pillars are found te have been furiued of hewn stone. 

i Muniiuenta Antiqaa, Vol. II. p. 183. — The same writer observes, that 
many inconsiderate antiquaries have been accustomed to attribute Avery by- 
pocaust, when the discovery of tuch a relic took place, to a Roman bath ; 
whereas many unquestionably appertained to dwelling apartnents. 

t Vide Roman .Antiquities at Woodchester, p. 8, and the authorities there 

^ Discoveries of tes.sellated pavement are noticed in numerous volumes. of 
the Beauties of England and Wales. The undermentioned pages contain 
descriptions of curious specimens: Dorset!>hire, p. 51 1 — 514; Essex, p. 395; 
Gloucestershire, p. 57?, et seq ; ibid, 598 ; Leicestershire, p. SSi ; Lincoln- 
shire, p. 679; London and Middlesex, Vol. L p. S*) — 97; Monmouthshire, 
p. 171— 17*; Norihamptonshire, p. tl6 ; Oxfordshire, p. 4t5— Cj Wilt- 
^iic, p. S16— 17 ; ibid, p. 698. 


•f such buildings as were inhabited by the elevated and wealthy, 
that considerable quantities of tesserae [the small dies of wbick 
the pavement is composed] formed a part of the bai^gage of a 
regular army, and were laid down in the principal apartments of 
the praetorium. 

The tesserae which compose the majority of such mosaic pave- 
ments as are discovered in Britain, are, in general, nearly cubes, 
of about half an inch square. But they are by no means inva- 
riably of that size. Some, which, are of mere brick, and were 
used for the coarse work of ordinary apartments, are considerably 
larger; while others are of very small dimensions, and were em- 
ployed in filling up the minute parts of such pavements as were, 
worked with laborious care and delicacy. They are of various 
colours; and, in many instances, appear to have been formed 
of stones dug from the neighbourhood of the building in which 
they were placed, with the addition only of small dies of brick, 
to produce a strong shade of red, and of a hard calcarious stone, 
of a bright white hue, bearing some resemblance to Palombiuo 

The tesserae, or dies, were embedded in cement, and placed 
ou prepared strata of different kinds, [as rubble-stones ; or blend- 
ed sand, clay, and loose pieces of brick ;] with brick-work for the 
foundation of the whole. 

The mosaic-work was disposed in a great variety of patterns, 
which sometimes consisted merely of ornamental involutions, as 
the vilruvian scroll, the labyrinth-fret, and the guilloche ; but were 
more frequently descriptive of heathen deities, or other allegori- 
cal figures allusive to war, love, and the pleasures of the chace. 
The execution of the figures is usually very coarse; and an 
elegance of taste is chiefly displayed in such mosaic pavements 
as consist of fanciful ornaments, unconnected with attempts to 
represent the human, or any other natural, figure. 

Inscriptions have been frequently found on tessellated pavements 
in several other parts of Europe,buthave been only rarely discover- 
ed in Britain. The first discovery of this nature was made by Mr. 



Lysons, at Woodchester ; and the same gentleman has been so 
ibrtuiiate as to reveal, for the gratification of the antiquary, a 
second inscription in mosaic-work, at Frampton, in Dorsetshire, 
It will be observed by the readers of the Beauties of England, 
that neither of these inscriptions contains any reference to the 
dates at which the respective villae were erected, or to the per- 
sons by whom they were occupied. 

Roman Coins.— The coins of the Romans rank among the 
inost interesting vestiges of the ascendancy of that great nation, 
in Britain. These lelics, indeed, constitute a distinguished me- 
morial of the former sway and busy population of the Romans, 
in all places which were included within the bounds of their 
mighty empire ; and are found in great abundance, by the opera- 
tion of the plough, or spade, either scattered loosely through 
the soil, or reposited for security in urns and other receptacles. 
They are, also, frequently dug from a concealment amidst the 
foundations of buildings. 

The exuberance with which they are discovered in Britain, is ma- 
nifested by very numerous pages of the " Beauties/' but it is evi- 
dent that the topographer, whilst confining his enquiries to En- 
gland and Wales, is chiefly concerned with such as bear an imme- 
diate relation to our native island; and these will be found to be only 
few in number. It may, however, be desirable to remind the 
reader of some circumstances generally connected with the coin- 
age of Rome; as the collecting of medals forms one of the most 
elegant branches of antiquarian employment. 

In regsrd to the material of which they are fabricated, Roman 
coins are chiefly of three sorts; brass, or copper; silver; and 
gold.* The first material was that of earliest use, and long re- 

* Many coins are found of lead, iron, or copper, finely plated with gold or 
silver, and are evidently the performance of Roman forgers. That coins le- 
gitimately composed of lead were very anciently in circulatioa at Rome, is, 
ho\rever, unqneitionable ; but only few are discovered with imperial imprest 
tions, and those ^re supposed to have been mere trial-pieces. 


inained the sole racial of which the money of the Romans was 
composed ; but silver and gold were both adopted, more than two 
eenturtes before the Christian era. 

In shape they are roundish, but seldom perfectly circular; and, 
in point of size,tliey vary from a diameter of three inches, to that 
of one-fourth of an inch. Those of the larger size are termed 
medallions. The brass imperial coins, which are by far the more 
numerous, are of three sizes, large, middle, and small;* the 
ilistinctions, as to size, being ascertained by the size of the 
head stamped on the obverse, rather than by the breadth and 
thickness of the coin itself. The large brass, as vestiges of an- 
tiquity, are considered tbe most valuable of all Roman coins, on 
account of the great size of the portraits and figures, and the 
beauty of the types and the execution. — The class of coins term- 
ed middle brass, is found in the greatest numbers, but is much 
inferior to the first size, in interest and in elegance of workman- 
ship. The series of the smalt brass comprises many very curiouM 
and estimable coins. 

Little discrimination is now made between the brass and copper 
coins of the Romans, although, when used as a circulating me- 
dium of traffic, the brass was considered to be double in value 
to the copper. This want of attention arises from that fine rust 
which is peculiar to these metals, when reposited in particular 
soils, and in which the best specimens of ancient brass and 
eopper coins are beautifully encased. This rust is of various co- 
lours, and, when really produced by time, is as hard as the 
metal itself, and acts as a natural' varnish, which preserves the 
most delicate touches of tbe impn.-ssion, more effectually than 
could have been done by any artificial means. 

The silver imperial coins are so numerous and complete, that 


• Such are the classes into wliich they are arbitrarily divided ; the large, 
being about the size of our crown, and the middle tliat of our half-crown j 
while the small comprehends all brass coins not larger than our shilling. Sut 
it will be noticed that the brass coinage of Rome gradually declines in siw 
from the time of Severus. 


they are not held in extraordinary esteem by the fastidious me- 
dallist. Coins in this metal, are frequently dug up with large 
spots of gret^n, blue, or red rust; all of which are injurious to 
the value of the specimen. They, likewise, from lying in a soil 
subject to particular vapours, acquire a yellow tarnish, which has. 
deceptively inclined many persons to suppose that they had been 
gilt. The Roman silver was generally alloyed, for the purpose of 
hardening it. 

The imperial coins of gold are deemed so truly precious, that 
the purity of the metal is one of the least considerations in es- 
timating their value. We here see the arts of medallic invention 
and execution carried to an admirable height ; and the metal is 
highly favourable to the perpetuation of such exquisite work- 
manship, a^!< it is superior to all rust, except the iron-mould ac- 
quired from lying in a soil impregnated with iron. 

The impress on all these classes uf coins is interesting equally 
to the historian, the antiquary, and the general lover of science. 
Before I bestow on this subject a few brief notices, the reader 
may be reminded, in the lively and elegant words of Addison, 
*' that, formerly, there was no difference between money and 
medals. An old Roman had his purse full of the same pieces 
that we now preserve in cabinets. As soon as an emperor bad 
done any thing remarkable, it was immediately stamped on a 
coin, and became current through his whole dominions. It was 
a pretty contrivance to spread abroad the virtues of an Emperor, 
and make his actions circulate. A fresh coin was a kind of 
a gazette, that published the latest news of the empire.'** 

Until the time of Julius Caesar, the portrait of a living per- 
sonage had never been stamped upon a Roman coin; but, from 
that period downwards, the medals of the empire present a gra- 
tifying succession of portraits, often of exquisite workmanship, 


* Dialogues on Medals, Bishop Hurd'i edit. p. 4S9.— Medallions are ordi- 
Barily supposed to act as an exception to this remark, bnt Mr. Pinkerton 
doubts whether many medallions Riight not h«Ta been circulated as moDey 
Vide Essay on Medals. , ..;..• 


and evincing, in the strength of their character, a probable close- 
ness of resemblance. On the coins of the npper empire,* the 
face is exhibited in profile, a style of representation well adapted 
to the dimensions of a medal ; but, in those of the lower Empe- 
rors, this custom was frequently abandoned ; and here, to use the 
satirical words of Addison, " you find abundance of broad Gothic 
ihicea, like so many full moons, on the side of a coin/* 

While the obverse is enriched with the portrait of a Roman 
Emperor, [then, in reality, the monarch presiding over all Eu- 
rope] the reverse presents a device, finely emblematic, or com- 
memorative of some event of importance to the Roman nation, 
and theud.' to the civilized world at large. We here find repre- 
sented, and often with great beauty, deities, and personifications 
allusive to peculiar virtues presumed to be displayed by the Em- 
perors, or by the people subject to their rule. Any extension of 
the empire, or victory conducive to that event, was promptly 
stamped upon a coin, to gratify the patriotic pride of the Roman 
citizens, and to blazon to posterity, the achievements of their 
armies.f Nor were military actions alone deemed worthy of 
notice upon the coinage ; any great work of an honourable 
peace obtained a place on these lasting medallic tablets ; and the 


• The reader may be reminded that the era termed the Upper Empire, it 
•onsidered to have commenced under Julius Caesar, and to have ended about 
the year of Christiaa reckoning, tSO. The lower empire embraces a period 
of near litOO years, and terminates at tlie capture of Constantinople. All th« 
imperial medals, till the time of the Palaologi, are deemed antique. 

+ Mr. Addison, [Dialogues on Medals, &c.] expatiates, at some extent, on 
the jadgment shewn by the ancients, in causing the record of great events, 
for the information of posterity, to be stamped on brass and copper, as the 
less raluable metals in common esteem, rather than «n gold and silver, which 
are so tempting to the destructive hand of avarice. Although similar devices 
were impressed on the more precious substances, it is indeed sufficiently evi- 
dent that not any opportunity was neglected of perpetuating actions ol re- 
nown, by cummemorating them on coins likely to be valuable with future 
ages for the device and legend, rather than for the iatriosic value of tkc 


reverse of many coins was thought to be satisfactory and com- 
plete, when it presented an image of security, as the fortified 
gateway observable on several which relate to Britain. 

The legends are remarkable for a sententious brevity, for an' 
amplitude and grandeur of meaning expressed with the least 
possible expenditure of words. In these, and in the device, it 
will scarcely be doubted but that a flattery, most contradictory 
to sober truth, often prevailed; and few will avoid a smile ou 
seeing Calitjula and Nero styled the fathers of their country, and 
Vitellius the restorer of the city of Rome. Still, in many in- 
stances, the Roman medals would appear to present an honest 
«cho of puhlic approbation; and it will readily be allowed that 
they are greatly assistant to history, in regard to the arrange- 
ment of events, dates, and biographical particulars. 

It has been observed that the Roman coins bearing an immediate 
relation to Britain, are comparatively few in number. Camden 
[who must be considered, as to efficiency of intelligence, th« 
parent of British topographical history] has presented a scries, 
into which, according to the remark, of Mr. Gough, " he has ad- 
mitted several coins, which have no other relation to Britain than 
that the Emperors to whom they belong had something to do 
here."* Mr. Walker, in 'Bishop Gibson's edition of the Bri- 
tannia, has added six more; but still, if such a criterion be re- 
ceived as the standard of adoption, it is certain that even such an 
addition is much smaller than might be made, with superior in- 
dustry or opportunities. Air. Gough, in his edition of Camden, 
gives a plate, which " professes to exhibit </nly such Roman 
coins as bear any evident marks of relation to this country.'* 
The coins presented in Mr. Gough's plate are twenty eight in 
number; but, certainly, do not comprehend all which have a real 
and immediate relation to British aflairs. 

It is remarkable that we have only one colonial coin of Bri- 
|ain. As engraved by Camden, this singl« instance belongs to 

Claudius ; 

* Gough's Edit, of Camden, p. IM. * 


Claudius ; aud, according to that writer, we learn from the in- 
scription " that Claudius was, for some soccesK in Britain, in 
the r2th year of his reign, saluted Imperator the 13th time; 
and that a colony was then settled at Camulodunum." On the 
reverse is the device of a roan driving a cow and a bull, in allu- 
sion to the Roman custom of marking the site of the walls of an 
intended settlement, by a plough drawn by a cow and a ball, 
yoked together.* 

Medals, allusive to Britain, occur in each of the three metals 
used in the Roman coinage. Among these will be noticed a 
coin of Claudius, who is termed by Roman authors the conqueror 
of Britain. This coin is rare in gold, and is still less frequently 
found in silver. The bust of the Emperor is adorned with the 
laurel crown. On the reverse is the inscription De Britannis, 
and a triumphal arch, with trophies ; " which Vaillant refers to 
his expedition hither, A. U. C 796, A. D. 43; and his pompous 
triumph over the Britons, for which the arch here represented 
was erected to him, in the 9th region of Rome, in his 6th tribu- 
nate, A. U. C. 799, A. D. 46."t Over the arch is the statue 
«f the Emperor, on horseback, between two trophies of British 

Many of the other coins relating l^. Britain, were also stmck 
in commemoration of victories obtained by different Emperors, or 
their Generals; as Antoninus Pius, Commodus, Caracalla, and 
Severus. On the reverse of these are seen various emblems of 
triumph; as a winged figure of victory, sustaining h palm branch 
ftnd shield, and sitting on the shields of the conquered Britons ; 


• Mr. Gough (Edit, of^rttannift ; notes on Roman coins) observes, that 
he bas not been able to flr.d where Camden and Barton met with this coin. 
It has not been turned up at Maiden, or Colchester ; nor is it mentioned by 
Vaillant, Patin, or Occo. The same writer adds, " Claudius's 12th 

tribunate answer* to his being the 26th time Imperatof ; not, as Camden 
reads it, 18, in a character unusual on coins." 

t Notes on the Boman coins in Cough's edit, of Camden; whtrc sec aik 
fPfraving of this eurigut medal. 



^wo winged Victories, writing on a shield hung to a palm*tree, 
and two captives below, with their hands tied behind them. 
Sometimes, two triumphs are celebrated on the reverse of one 
coin; as in the instance of a medal struck by Commodus, where 
a figure is represented sitting, and holding two trophies, one ia 
each hand. 

But the coins most interesting, from their connexion with our 
native country, are those which contain a personification of Bri- 
tannia. Several such coins are preserved; and it is highly 
curious to enquire into the characteristics with which the polished 
Romans would invest our island, and the degree of esteem ia 
which they held this country, on a scale of comparison with their 
other provinces. 

The enquiry is by no means gratifying to national vanity, or 
even satisfactory to fair patriotic prepossession. On the Roman 
medals, every other province is emblematically complimented for 
some circumstance of natural wealth, or of artificial produce. 
Thus, Africa isquoiffed with the elephant's head, and attended by 
the bull, and by other euibUms allusive to wealth in agriculture. 
The fruitfulness of Egypt is denoted by a basket of wheat; 
while Spain supports an olive branch ; and Gaul is declared to 
be rich in flocks, by an attendant sheep. And all these figures 
are of a graceful form, and are in soft, pacific, attitudes. 

But Britain is represented with no encouraging token of rich- 
ness of staple, or urbanity of manners. In a medal of Antoninus 
Pius, noticed by Addison, she is seated upon a globe, which 
stands in water, "probably to denote that she is mistress of a 
new world, separate from that which the Romans had before 
conquered, by the interposition of the sea."* In her hand she 
bears a Roman ensign, the galling indication of her being a con- 
quered province. On another coin of the same Emperor,! she 

O »• 

• Dialogues on medals. See. p. 4i?5. 
t Both of these medals are engraved in the plate Vnmvii Romani, Tab. III. 
«f Gibson's Camdrn. One is also engraved, and both are noticed, in Gough'a 
•ditioD of the sane work. 


is sitting updn a rock^ with ^ spear and shield, to attest Ii«r 
military disposition ; but, still, with a Roman ensign in her 
hand, the badge of subjugation. It will, likewise, be observed 
that she is so thinly and penuriously clad, as to approach to a 
state of semi-nudity ; while tlie other figm'es are enwrapped in 
robes of comfort and value. She is, also, destitute of the grace 
and gentleness conspicuous iii personifications of the otiier pro- 

But the reader will recollect that the conquests of Antoninus 
Pius, in regard to which these coins were undoubtedly struck, 
'related to the north of Britain; and the extreme poverty of aspect 
in the personification, therefore, applies chiefly to districts which 
few designers of medals, even in more prosperous ages, would 
think of representing by a figure very warmly clad, and pro- 
vided with a cornucopise. 

On a very rare brass coin of Claudius, the titular conqueror of 
4he south, the personification of Britain bears in the left hand a 
1>asin, which is supposed to contain pearls; but it is remarkable, 
that, when the same coin occurs in gold, this basin, with its sup- 
■posed offering of natural treasure, is omitted. — Still, in the 
medals of Claudius, and of Hadrian [whose knowledge of Britain 
was confined to the same southern part of the island] we see Bri- 
tannia in a more comely attire than in those of Antoninus, •al- 
though she still bears marks of poverty, when compared with the 
well-dressed female forms, representing other provinces. 

To speak in the language of a Medallist, the Britannias [or 
coins presenting personifications of our country] are very scarce 
and valuable. Mr. Pinkerton, in his judicious " Essay on 
Medals," has engraved ten of these coins; and it does not ap- 
pear that above four more exist ; neither of which varies much 
from those represented in his work, and descril>ed, as to their 
leading features, in the present pages. 

Anioui^sl the medals relating to Britain, which are admitted 
into h Roman series, none have caused so much discussion as 
■those of Caratisius and Allectus, The story of tliese successive 



usurpers of imperial power, has been briefly noticed in our com- 
pendium of historical events relating to the ascendancy of the 
Romans in Britain; and allusions to it occur in several pages of 
the " Beauties.*'* Carausius is the favourite hero of many 
Medallists; and his reign [ceitainly an era of some consequence 
in the naval annals of Britain] affords numerous curious and rare 
medals, particularly in the small brass ; but the cool investiga- 
tor will, perhaps, deem the labours mis-spent, which have ex- 
tended throug;h several volumes, in enquiries concerning the 
medallic history of this adventurous Emperor, even when the 
name of his wife, Oriuna, is added to the sum of interest.f 

The curiosity is naturally excited, as to the cause of the great 
abundance in which Roman coins are found, in the various situa- 
tions noticed in a previous page; and I must own that, in my 
opinion, not any conjectures yet presented are fully satisfactory. 
In regard to such coins as are discovered enclosed in vessels, and 
buried in the earth, it has been supposed that it was a usual prac- 
tice with the Romans to hoard their money in such a situation, 

O 2 and 

* The leading particulars of this CTenlful story are stated in the Beautie* 
for Oxfordshire, p. 536. 

t Tt is observed by Mr. Gough that the subject of Carausius and his coins 
has been exhausted in the following works: " Hi5toire de Carausius, Erape- 
reur de la Grande Bretagtie, &c. Par. 1740." 4to. Dr. Stukeley's " Me- 
dallic History of Carausius, 1757, and 1759." 2 vols. 4 to. His " PalsBQ- 
graphia Britannica, No. III. On Oriana, wife of Carausius, 1752." 4to. 
"Two Dissertations on Carausius, Emperor of Britain, together with that of 
bis supposed wife and son; a third, also, of him and his successor Allectus, 
with a letter to Dr. Slukeiey on the first volume of his History of Carausius," 
4to; and " Further observations on Carausius and Oriuna, 17.56." 4to 
The two last were by Dr. Kennedy, physician to the Middlesex hospital, wlio 
possessed a collection of the coins of Carausius, amounting to v56 specimens, 
nine of which were of fine silver. The controversy was closed by an aiiony- 
nious history of Carausius, or " an examination of what had been advanced 
on that subject by Genebrier and Stukeley, &c. 1762 " 4to. — In Gongh's 
•dit. of Camdeu, Plate Roman coins, are engraved two of the coins of 
Carausius, from a plate in the work of Dr. Kennedy. 


and the following^ two lines of Horace are adduced in support of 
the supposition : 

Quid jurat iminensum te Argenti Pondus, et Auri 
Furtini defossa timid uni deponerc Terra ? 

Sat. Lib. I. Sat. I. 

It is observed, that the servant in the Gospel, wlio did not 
trade with the talent entrusted to hitn, went and digged in the 
earth, and hid his Lord's money. The following remark appears 
of considerable weight, in respect to the discovery of vessels 
containing coins in subterranean situations: " Among the mili- 
t^ry, it seems likely that the method of burying money would 
be pursued in general ; for, as the Roman forces were paid ia 
copper money, called therefore ^s militare, a service of any 
duration would occasion such an accumulation of this ponderous 
coin, as could not be carried about by the soldier, with any con- 
venience, in his numerous excursive marches. The surest mode, 
therefore, of securing his treasure until he returned to his garri- 
son, would be to deposit it in a spot known only to himself. 
But, as it frequently happened that these veterans died before 
they had an opportunity of revisiting their hoards, the know* 
ledge of them would be necessarily lost with their owners, and 
they would continue in the places where they Mere originally 
deposited, until accident, or curiosity, again brought them to 

Camden attributes the abundance in which these coins are 
found, to the imperial edict which prohibited the melting down 
of ancient money. 

It may be safely supposed, that the whole of the Roman 
money discovered in Britain, was not actually left in the soil, or 
ill other places of secretion, by the Romans themselves. Ken- 
net [in general so judicious in his remarks] is certainly subject 


Iter Critanniaram, &e. p. 55. 


to error, accordiDi^ to all probability of cotijeclnre, vihen, in his 
" Parochial Antiquities," he surmises that these invaders, at 
their final departure from Britain, buried their money in th« 
ground, under the hope of returning and regaining it. The 
omens of disjunction were too decisive to allow of our believing 
that they could descend to such a weakness, especially when we 
remember the slow progress with which those indications had 
advanced towards a crisis. 

But the circulation of Roman money in Britain, did not cease 
with the departure of the warlike and predominating people 
under whose influence its was minted. In its' natural course, as a 
medium of trafBc under a government long deemed secure, it ha<i 
penetrated every recess of the British province, and formed 
equally the hoard of the artificer, husbandman, and merchant. 
That it prevailed as a currency for many years after the Romans 
abandoned Britain, would appear to be unquestionable; and a 
considerable proportion of the secreted masses of money, or 
scattered gleanings of Roman coin, found in many parts of the 
island, may, perhaps, with a rationality of conclusion, be re* 
ferred to the fruitless precaution, or the terrifie<l negligence, 
of the Britons, when their towns were threatened by northera 
invaders; or were involved, by their assault, in a smoking 
volume of ruin. 

Among other opinions, it has been thought that the Romans 
left large quantities of their money in different places, " as iu- 
contestible proofs of the once Roman greatness, and undeniable 
memorials of the immensity of their dominions."— In aid of such 
a notion, it may be remarked, that much the greater number of 
the coins thus discovered are of copper. 

It is stated by Mr. Reynolds, in his Introduction to the Itine'* 
rary of Antoninus, as a conjecture of the Bishop of Cloyne, 
" that the barbarians who destroyed the towns did not know, or 
despised, the use of copper money ; and therefore left it among 
the ruins." This opinion is supported, bv observing that " the 
Roman coins found on the site of desolated towns, are chiefly 

O 3 copper. 


CQpper, bad and worn; and they are generally scattered equally 
over the surface of the ruined town." 

Each of these causes may have assisted in producing the 
incontestible fact, of Roman money being almost daily found 
in such abundance, as to convey an assurance of a very large 
circulation of specie during the ascendant of that people in Bri« 
tain. But it will be obvious, that such of the ascribed causes 
as appear most efficacious, are adopted on conjecture only, how- 
ever ingenious those conjectures may be deemed. 

Altars, and other inscribed Stones, and pieces of 
Sculpture. — We have good authority for believing that the 
Romans introduced, with a liberal, if not with a judicious hand, 
the art of sculpture to the conquered districts of this island. It 
is well known that they were extremely fond of adorning with 
statues, both the public and private buildings of the imperial 
city, in the first and second centuries; and mutilated vestiges of 
such circumstances of decoration have been often found in Bri<- 
tain, although rarely preserved with due care. Gildas notices 
the numerous statues of heathen deities, connected with religious 
temples, which were remaining, even at the date at which he 

That the Romans sedulously introduced statues of their fanci- 
ful deities, during their efforts to eradicate the religion of the 
Druids, may, indeed, be readily imagined; and that ornamental 
statues were frequently placed in their principal private build* 
ings, is evident from fragments discovered on several occasions, 
and particularly from those found at Woodchestcr, in Glouces- 

It must necessarily be supposed that such pieces of sculpture 
as were used in ornamenting great public buildings, or the prin. 
cipal roansiooa of the affluent and tasteful, were procured from 
Ibe imperial city. But it is unquestionable that many sculptors 


• Gild»Hi«t. C.2. ^ 


from Rome practised their art in this country, daring the mor« 
settled ages of the Roman dowinatioa over Britain. It is to he 
regretted that only few specitneua, of either kind, are knowH to 
exist at the present time.* The introduction of Christianity led 
to tlie destruction of images desigaed for heathen worship ; and 
the relics of such statues as adoraed the private domus, or villa, 
are comparatively few in number, and are generally of indifferent 
execution. Those who are anxious to uphold the dignity of 
Reman art in ail its circumstances, may imagine that the in' 
vaders removed the most valuable works of the statuary, when 
they finally quitted the island ; but the lesB impassioned will, 
perhaps, believe that the refined arts, even when stimulated by 
the wishes of Roman voluptuousness, languished on the soil of 
this distant province ; and that Britain was not constituted the 
depositary of any costly and transcendant works in the sculptor's 
department of talent, whilst sulyect to the military sway of the( 

It is, at any rate, certain that the principal remains of Roman 
sculpture in Britain, consist of figures cut in Basso and Alto 
Relievo, on altars and various monuments. Some few of these 
exhibit an indication of taste and skill ; but the greater nui^ber 
are equally coarse in design and execution. 

The intention and usual character of altars, and other inscribed 
O 4 stones. 

• Leland, writing in the reign of Henry the Eigtith, notices various piece* 
of sculpture at Bath, which had been rescued from the ruins of the build- 
ings to which they originally appertained, and were then inserted in the 
city walls. Some interestiug discoveries of Roman antiquities, comprising 
a fine head in bronze (supposed to be that of Apollo) have since occurred at 
the same place, ood are mentioned in the Beauties for Somersetshire, p. 3^2 
—366. One of the most elegant specimens of Homan proficiency in the 
fine arts, that have been discovered in this country, was found at Riibchester, 
in the year 1796. This is a helmet of Bronze, " ornamented with basso- 
relievos, representing armed men, with horses, &c. in various attitudes of 
skirmishing." An account of jthis discovery is inserted in the VetuUa ifcpus- 
menu, the Archxolo^ia, the Beauties for T>ancashir«, p. 15S, ficc. . .^.^ .^j. 


Stones, are comprehensively stated by Mr. Horstey, in words to 
the following effect:—" The occasions on which the Romans 
erected inscriptions were various. Many altars, with their 
proper inscriptions upon them, were consecrated for sacrifice. 
Such are the votive altars, upon many of which we meet with the 
words pro salute, that is, for the preservation, or welfare, of the 
emperor, or some other person, or of the parties themselves who 
dedicated these altars. 

" There are other inscriptions which proceeded not from any 
act of devotion, but were erected upon various occasions ; such 
are honorary monuments, in compliment to the emperor or some 
other great person, especially after any success or victory ob- 
tained. And, sometimes, such inscriptions were erected upon 
finishing some considerable work, or a part of it. Of this kind 
are the centurial inscriptions,* placed in Severus's wall, and 
those inscriptions found upon the wall in Scotland. 

" Altars are generally inscribed to gods and goddesses ; and 
sometimes to the emperors. A great number of these, in Bri- 
tain, are inscribed to several of the principal gods of the Romans ; 
but many, likewise, to local deities, or such as were supposed to 
preside over particular places. In honorary monuments and in- 
scriptions, the emperors are often complimented in the most ser- 
vile manner, and sometimes deified. But some inscriptions are 
only set up as memorials of finishing a considerable work, or 
public structure, and directed to no person."t 

It will be recollected that the custom of raising commemorative 


• Inscriptions erected by the legionary cohorts, or their centuries, and 
thence termed centurial by Mr. Horsley. 

+ It is juRtly observed by Mr. Horsley, that "inscriptions were erected by 
persons of all ranks and degrees in the array, from the highest officers down 
to the common soldiers. The commanders and governors of forts, more espe- 
cially, pleased themselves with perpetuating their names, by such monu- 
ments. Put we have many inscriptions, also, by other tribunes ; and seve- 
ral by whole legions, or their vexillations ; and many •thers by cohorts and 
llieir ceuturions."— >Brit. Rom. p. 181. 


inscriptions prevailed chieBy in the time of the later emperors. 
Dr. Fleetwood, speaking of the antiquities of the Roman empiit 
gener'lly, observes "that, amongst the many thonsand iuscrip* 
tious to the succeeding emperois, we have scarce six or seven to 
Julius Caesar, though ail their exploits put together scarce equal- 
led those of Julius Caesar alone." And thus, in regard to the 
Roman antiquities of Britain in particular, it is stated by Mr. 
liorsley, ", notwithstanding the descent of Julius Caesar, 
the exploits and conquests of Claudius and Vespasian in this is> 
land, and the wars that were carried on here under some others 
yiXxo succeeded them, yet we have not one inscription in Britain, 
that undoubtedly belongs to any of the first twelve Caesars. 
Hadrian is the first emperor whose' name occurs in any of our 
British inscriptions; and we have but very few of his, although 
he built a rampart quite across the country ; and the few erected 
to him are simple and short. In the following reigns, especially 
under some of the Antonines, they become more humerous, as 
well as more pompous; but, after the reign of Constantine the 
Great, when the Roman power began to decline, they very much 
decrease again. No emperor's names are mentioned in any ia«i 
scriptions after that reign; nor the names of consuls, or anj 
other determinate dates."* 

Roman Sepulchres, and Funeral Vessels.— Sepulchral 
vestiges of the Romans have been discovered in several parts of 
Britain ; and the vessels in which they sometimes deposited th* 
ashes of the deceased, together with other articles relating to 
their funeral ceremonies^ form some of the most interesting specie 


* Britannia Komana, Book II. chap. 1 and 11. — It will be observed that 
few Roitian inscriptions have been discovered in the south and east, or south- 
•ast parts of this island. The principal altars and inscriptions, which hare 
hitherto appeared, have been found in Monmouthshire ; the northern coun- 
ties of England ; and near the wall ia Scotland.— Th« eoant; of NorthiiaK 
herland is partieuUrlj rich iu Roman antiquities. 


mens of ancient custom which are contained in public depositaries, 
or in the cabinets of curious individuals.* 

It is clearly ascertained that the Romans used, at the same 
time, the two different modes of consuming the body by fire, and 
of burying it entire. The former custom chiefly prevailed ; but 
instances of both methods of funeral deposit have been found in 
Britain, although not in any great abundance. It is observed by 
Mr. Douglas that the " burial places of the Eomans, in this 
kingdom, are very rarely discovered, owing to their custom of 
interring the dead at no great distance from their stations, by 
the side of the public road, and in such situations as have been 
occupied by u succeeding people to modern times. Their princi« 
pal towns and cities are the actual residence of the present gene- 
ration ; hence, through the various changes of different people 
and different customs, their traces have been long destroyed ; and 
it is now only to accident we are indebted for the few remains 
which this country has pre8erved."f 

The situation of the burial places of the Romans is explained 
in the above extract. Their prevailing characteristics and pecu- 
liarities might furnish subject for numerous pages, which could 
scarcely fail to be curious and interesting, as such a comprehen- 
sive statement is not, I believe, presented, at a single view, in 
any English publication. 

In regard to the external marks by which the burial place of 
the Romans may be distinguished from that of any other nation 
connected with this island, it would appear that we have no 
direct evidence of their ever constructing barrows over the re- 

• Sepulchral vestiges of the Romans are noticed in various parts of the 
Beauties of England. Some interesting discoveries oecur in the following 
pages: Beauties for Durliani, p. 184; for Hampshire, p. 16; for Kent, 
p. 671 ; 689; 1016j 1164; (and other places in the same county, men- 
tioned in the index, under the head of Amtun Antiquities}) for Lincolnshire, 
p. 599— 600; ibid.C40; for Lancashire, p. 53—4; for London and Mid- 
dlesex, Vol. I. p. 86—91 ; for Oxfordshire, p. 462—4; fpr Yorkshire, p. 671. 
• f Neaia Brilannica, p. 142. 


nains of the deceaised, except such as were raised oyer the pro- 
muicuous bodies of those who fell in battle ; a custom which has 
been traced, in a previous pa^e, down to the time of our fathers, 
and which has been practised by nearly all nations at didfereui 

la opposition to such a remark, it may, however, be noticed 
that many articles, apparently of Roman workmanship, have beea 
found, in ooojunctiou with human remains, beneath tumuli ia^ 
Britain. But the following pas.sag:e of an author who has inves- 
tigated the subject of funeral tumuli with laborious care, will, 
perhaps, account in a satisfactory way for such contradj.-tory ap» 
pearances : " Where Roman insignia have been found, we have 
very great reason to believe tliat tlie barrow, or cairn, was the 
sepulture, not uf Romans, but of British officers, or chieftains, 
in the Roman service. — We do not iind that the Romans ever 
raised barrow« over the sepulchres or ashes of their great men, 
either in Italy or in any other part of the world ; and, therefore/^ 
there can be no proper authority for supposing them to have done 
so iu Itiis country."* 

It is certain that sepulchres, decidedly Roman, and such as 
may be adduced as specimens the rno^t strongly marked, are dis- 
covered. Without the least indication of any super-incumbent 
barrow. The general exterior characteristics of a Roman place 
of interment in Britain, would appt;ar to cousist simply of tht 
plain ^rave, with one or more stoue pillars, bearing an inscrip' 
tiun, and sometimes a sculptured device. Roman sepulchral in* 
scriptions on stone have, indeed, been found in most parts of this 
island which are visited by a Roman road, although they most 
frequently occur in tiie viciuity of a known station. These are 
generally, though not invariably, inscriptions to military men; 
and the stones are sometimes charged with the effigies of the de- 
ceased, and embellished with garlands, or other pieces of sculp- 
lure, rudely executed, f 


* Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. I. p. ztl. 
f The letters D. M. or the wurds Di$ Manibui, conslautlj occur in the 



The aspect exhibited by the interior, necessarily depends on 
the nature of the solemnities practised at the funeral. When cre- 
mation, or burning, was used on the decease of distinguished 
persons, it will be recollected that the body was placed on a 
conch, or bed, and burned upon a pile composed of light and 
resinous wood. As it was thought that the ghosts delighted in 
blood, a number of beasts were killed, and thrown upon the pile, 
to accompany the human body through the process of the flames. 
Various presents were also cast into the fire, by surrounding 
relatives; and military persons had usually their arms burned 
with them. When the pile was burned down, they extinguished 
the remains of the fire by sprinkling wine, that the bones and 
ashes might be collected with greater ease. These last frag> 
meots of mortality were then carefully gathered, and placed in 
the urn, which was immediately consigned to the sepulchre. 

It will scarcely be deemed superfluous to have reminded the 
reader of these particulars, as it is necessary to hold them in close 
remembrance while noticing the interior of a Roman burial place. 
The urn, containing the human ashes, was deposited upon a 
pavement within the sepulchre ; and round it were placed several 
vessels, of diflerent size and shape, which were usually of earthen* 
ware, but were sometimes of metal, or of glass. 

Among these may be noticed Paterae, or broad bowls, which 
were used in sacrifices to receive the blood of victims, and in 
which were placed the consecrated meats ofiered to the gods, or 
the wine and other liquors used as libations at funerals. Vessels, 


funernl inscriptions of the Romans. On this subject Mr. Ward coaoniuiiicated 
to Mr. Horslej the fotiowiag remarks: '< The ancients were not agreed in 
their opinions concerning the Dii Maiie$ ; some taiiinti them lor the same as 
the dti ittferi ; others for the ghosts of persons deceased ; and others, again, 
for the same as the genii, or familiar spirits, which atiended persons from 
their birtli, through this world into the nest. When they are mentioned 
upon inscriptions, they sometimes tseero to be taken for tlie ghost of the de« 
ceased person to whom the mepument is erected, and at olbsr times n^t." 
Britannia Boniaaa, p. 199. • . 


termed Lachrymatories by many antiquaries, are found with the 
above, and are frequently accompanied by a spoon. It is usually 
supposed that these vessels were intended to contain lachrymal 
offerings; and some persons have conjectured that the spoons 
were used in catching such tears as were designed for preserva- 
tion. Mr. Douglas, in the work already quoted, considers both 
these surmises to be of a fanciful character, and contends that no 
safe authority can be found in any ancient writer for concluding 
that the vessels were applied to such purposes. Many sepulchral 
vessels he conceives to have contained milk, which the ancients 
believed congenial to the nutriment of the manes. The same 
author adds, that, when the sacrifices to the infericc were in a 
great measure interdicted or restrained, the custom of depositing 
with the dead, unguents, milk, beans, and lettuce, most proba- 
bly supplied the place. 

It is a fact, unfortunate to the antiquary, that few ancient 
authors mention the vessels interred by the Romans with the 
dead; but, in the opinion of the most judicious modern writers, 
they were applied both to the uses of libation and lustral purifi- 
cation: — Wiue, milk, blood, and pulse of various kinds being 
used in the former rites; and water, gums, and oil, in the 


• The following passage of the Nenia, with an attached remark by Mr. 
Goagh, is worihy of attention in ibis place : " Though the aiitients are not 
explicit in the actual deposit of the vessels with the body, they particularly 
express the nature of the liquors, unguents, balsams, asid viands, which were 
used in the sepulchral ordinances ; and it should be from these facts, corro- 
lK>rated with the discovery of the vessels in their sepulchres, that a decided 
opinion can be formed on any particular species of interments ; and also by 
the forms of the vessels, to what uses they raiglit be applied."— " At this ap- 
plication wfthese vessels" (adds Mr. Gough) " it seems to me we should stop, 
mnd not suppose them intended to contain provisions of any kind for the dead, 
which is not warranted by any discovery that I recollect, though the naulnm 
Charmtis. or piece of money, is."— Sepulchral Mods. Vol. II. Introduction, 
p. 51. 


When the body was buried entire, it appears that the matt 
vessels, wi€h the exception only of the urn to contain ashes, were 
placed beside it in the tomb. 

The walls of the Roman sepulchre were sometimes composed of 
rubble-stone and bard mortar, as in the instance of a discovery 
made at Chatham hill, in Kent. The parts then excavated, ex- 
hibited a wall, 30 feet in length, "intersected by three apartments, 
with their walls." One of these apartments was complete, and 
was nine feet three inches by seven feel three inches. The walls 
on the inside were covered with fine white plaster, " on which 
were painted stripes of black and red."* 

A Roman sepulchre, discovered at York, was about 250 yards 
from the wall of that city, and was in the form of an oblong room, 
with a ridged roof, covered with hollow Roman tiles. " Each 
side consisted of three large tiles, if they may be so called, of a 
beautiful red." This tomb was about three feet and a half long, 
within ; and contained several urns, all standing on a tiled pave- 

The above two examples may convey satisfactory ideas of the 
usual character of the public and private sepulchres of the Romans, 
when the practice of cremation was adopted. In rtgard to such 
as were designed for the reception of numerous entire bodies, an 
instance occurs in the "Beauties of England" for Oxfordshire. 
The burial vault there mentioned, is said to have been, in the 
part which was explored, 20 feet in length, and 18 feet in width; 
the height was eight feet from " the planking stones." The human 
remains were laid in partitions of a dissimilar width, which crossed 
the vault from east to west, and were built with Roman red tiles, 
about eight inches and a half square. The partitions were two 
feet and a half deep, and were generally about the width of oar 
modern graves. Small basins of black Roman pottery, which 
had probably contained milk, honey, wine, &c. were found in 


* Nenia Britannica, p. 140. 
^ Cough's Stpulchral MonumcDts, part L p. 25. 


several of the recesses; and the Roman ash>um, of red earthen- 
>¥are, was, likewise, discovered "among the ruUbish." There 
were two tiers of sepulchi'al recesses; and, above, was a range 
of planking-tiles, covered with mortar and sand, to the thickness 
of about two inches, in which was set tessellated work, supposed 
to have formed the flooring of a temple.* 

The Romans appear to have used, in Britain, stone coffins 
for interment; as in several instances such have been found, con- 
taining bones accompanied by urns, or funeral vessels, apparently 
Komaii. The earliest of these stone coffins were constructed in a 
rude manner, and out of numerous slabs of stone; but the im- 
provement of forming the coffin out of one stone, by the labour of 
the mallet and tool, was speedily introduced, and generally 
adopted by the affluent. Brick coffins, or sarcophagi, also were 
used by the Romans at a very early period; and coffins of burnt 
clay, assigned to the same people, have been found in this \»- 

When cremation ceased, on the introduction of Christianity, 
the believing Romans, together with the Romanized and con- 
verted Britons, would necessarily, as is observed by Mr. Gough, 
" betake themselves to the use of Sarcophagi, (or coffins) and, 
probably, of various kinds, stone, marble, lead, &c/'t They 
would, likewise, now first place the body in a position due east 
and west; and, thus, bestow an unequivocal mark of distinction 
between the funeral deposits of the earliest Roman inhabitants of 
this island, and their Christian successors. 


On the secession of the Romans from this fertile island, so 


* See a nore extended account of this discovery in the Beauties for Ox- 
fordshire, p. 462 — 4. The particnlary, as there presented, were communi* 
cated to ihe writer of the present "Introduction," by the Rev. Mr. Nash, 
the resident clergyman of Great Tew, in which parish th« burial place was 


t Sepulchral MonameDti, part I. p. S7. 


a£9uent in natural capacities, and admirably calculated for th« 
reception of an independent population, when those who inhabit 
it know the great lesson of remaining compact in patriotic prin- 
ciple, and true to thw-mselves; it is well known that the Britoni 
hWeA to recover secure possession of their native soil, and, at 
length, lost even their national appellation in the sovereign name 
of new conquerors. 

The Saxons, who now appear on the busy stage of our island- 
annals, approach in barbarism the most ferocious and disgusting. 
But, as the scenes of narration proceed, their fierceness mellows 
into a resemblance of the firm, temperate courage, worthy of the 
varrior who uses arms chiefly for the defence of his altar, his 
fellow-citizens, and his home; whilst, from the rude germ of 
that ardent temper which impelled them to prefer a life of for- 
tuitous, predatory adventure, to the patient cultivation of their 
natural soil, arises an expansive genius, eminent for legislative 
wisdom, and a zeal of piety, which, although sometimes fantas- 
tic io its operation, is gradually serviceable to morals andl 

The Saxons, indeed, have, in many points, a stronger claim 
on our attention than any of the other nations of our varied an- 
cestry. Traces of their sound judgment in political ccconomy 
are visible in the existing divisions of our island; and the wis* 
dom of their laws still lives, and sustains their memory, in 
numerous portions of that valuable code of jurisprudence, which 
is the foundation of an Englishman's most rational pride of 

It is not necessary to trace, in the present work, the pro- 
gressive steps by which this people obtained a knowledge of the 
British coast. — They had long, in conjunction with the Francs, 
maintained a course of piratical depredations, injurious to several 
provinces of the Roman empire ; and they were augmented, in 
numbers and power, in the fourth century, by a confederation 
with many small states, wiiose nominal distinctions were lost in 
the Saxon name. But the only allies of the Saxons, connected 



in an important degree witli the history of Britain, were the Jutes 
and Angles. It is concisely stated by Mr. Turner, the intelli- 
gent historian of these eventful periods, that, " as the boundaries 
of the Saxon slates enlarg:ed with their leagues, they embraced 
the population between the Elbe and the Weser; from the Weser 
they reached to the Eras; and, still augmenting, they diffused 
themselves to the Rhine, with varying latitude. The Jutes in- 
habited Jutland; or, rather, that part of it which was formerly 
called South Jutland. At the era of the Saxon invasion, the 
Angles were resident in the district of Anglen, in the dutchy of 

The internal state of Britain, at the first entry of that rnde 
people who were destined to become its conquerors, merely by 
force of arms, and with a striking inferiority of numbers, is a 
subject worthy of attentive investigation. But this troubled 
period, in common with most others of our early history, is des* 
titute of satisfactory contemporary annalists; and the deficiency, 
as usual, is ordinarily supplied by ingenious conjectures, aided 
by hints contained in extravagant and incredible monkish writers. 

I have already ventured to deem it probable that our British 
ancestors, long accustomed to the profound peace attendant on 
subjugation, and trained, upon principle, to enjoy the enervating 
pleasures of tranquillity, viewed with reluctance the final depar- 
ture of the protecting Romans. The miserable state into which 
they are confidently presumed to have fallen, when left to the 
exercise of their own discretion and energies, is, assuredly, an 
argument in favour of the correctness of such a conclusion. — 
England and Wales, according to the conjectures of the inge- 
nious, founded on suggestions contained in the most acceptable 
remaining authorities, were divided, when abandoned by the 
Romans, into about thirty independent civitates; which, on the 
'deposition of their respective ofiicers of Roman appointment, natu- 
•Killy assumed the form of so many republics. Mr. Turner, writing 

P of 

• Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol.1, p. 57— S8. 


of this period, observes that " independent Britain contained 
many independent republics, or civitates; each of these waB 
governed by chief magistrates, or duumviri, a senate, subordi* 
nate officers called decurions, an inferior senate called curiae, 
"with other necessary officers. The ecclesiastical concerns were 
regulated by a bishop in each, whose power sometimes e3(tended 
into lay concerns."* 

But such a form of constituent power vras not calculated for 
duration. When the principles of government reverted to their 
elements, it is probable that the descendants of ancient petty kings 
would prefer their long-neglected claims; and, if such claimants 
were wanting, ambition alone may be named as a sufficient motive 
to agitate temporary officers towards the destruction of a crowd 
of imbecile republics. — Whatever might be the instrumentality, 
the existence of civil discord, caused by numerous usurpers of 
regal power, would appear to be unquestionable. Gildas, the 
most useful historian of this era, remarks that "the country, 
though weak against its foreign enemies, was brave and uncon- 
querable in civil warfare. Kings were appointed, but not by 
God ; they who were more cruel than the rest, attained to the 
highest dignity." 

The distresses thus produced to the people of South Britain, by 
the secession of the Romans, were, surely, more grievous than 
any severity of taxes which their imperial masters were accus- 
tomed to inflict; and these miseries were aggravated by a cause 
which should have taught the usurpers the expediency of union. 
The Scots and Picts, wiio liad with difficulty been confined to 
their chearless moors and barren uplands, even by the Roman 
arms, now penetrated the fertile districts of the south; and, 
while weak pretenders were struggling for ephemeral sovereignty, 
they, with a more serious aim, plundered the people of the vital 
source of regal power. It was in this state of Britain that the 
Saxons, who had so often appeareil as pirates on our coast, but 


• Hist, of tlic Anglo-Saxons, Vol, I. p. 8.1. 


had rarely dared to view the interior of the island, first took a 
secure footing, as auxiliaries. 

The mode of their approach, and the insignificancy of their 
early nambers, are calculated to surprise the examiner, when he 
contemplates, with a rapid eye, the stupendous character of future 
events; unless he hold in careful remembrance the numerous his- 
torical circumstances, of vast importance, which have sprung^ 
from an original apparently as inefficient., 

Whilst South Britain was severely afflicted by civil warfare, 
it appears that three Saxon vessels arrived on the British coast; 
but whether with a piratical intention, or by one of those acci- 
dents peculiarly incidental to a sea voyage at this period, cannot 
be ascertained. Their crews were conducted by Hengist and 
Horsa, who had the imposing distinction of being termed de- 
scendants of Woden. Ebbs fleet, in the Isle of Thanet, near 
Richborough, was the place at which they anchored.* 

It has been observed that, " if we estimate the number of 
these Saxons from the size of the Danish vessels in a subse- 
quent age, tliey could not exceed three hundred men."f But 
even so small a hand of warriors were deemed friends of import; 
ance by the distracted Britons; and they were eagerly courted 
to assist in opposing the northern invaders. To so low a stage 
of degradation was Britain reduced by internal dissensions ! 

All that immediately followed is involved in a deep mist, most 
deceptive and perplexing. We are told that the leaders of the 
Saxons advised the invitation of more of their countrymen; and 
that the British king, under whose auspices they fought, as- 
sented to such a measure. Camden, in his dissertation on this 
era, has presented an excerpt of Wittichind, who describes the 
embassadors of the Britons as addressing the more warlike 
Saxons in a strain unusually abject and impolitic. But Camden 
would appear to consider Wittichind as a questionable authority; 

r 2 and, 

- ■ • - • "Set Beauties for Kent, p. 990—991. 

4 Hitt. ol th« Anglo-Saxont,Vol. I. p. 90. 

ilS iKTHODtCtlON. 

and, by modern writers, his assertions are treated with still les* 
respect.* Whatever might be the mode of address, it is be- 
lieved that a summons was given, ami it is known that more 
Saxons speedily arrived. 

Successful against tlie Picts and Scots, although, from the 
smaliness of their numbers, probably on a limited theatre of war- 
fare, the Saxons soon turned their arms on the nation whose 
allies they were deemed. 

A melancholy series of conflicts now commenced. Milton has 
been censured for terming the transactions of these sanguinary 
periods, as uninteresting as the conflicts of wolves and kites ; 
but, truly, so little of mind is evinced in the various contests 
antecedent to the consolidation of the most potent Anglo-SaxoD 
states under one supreme head, that the opinion of Milton would 
appear objectionable ^ to harshness of expression, rather than 
as to serious import The battles of an Alexander, or a CaDsar, 
force us to admire while we shudder; so much of the imposing 
quality termed heroism was displayed by those great generals. 
But the Saxons of England, whether fighting against the natives, 
or turning their arms on their own associates, were so mercenary 
and cruel in their object, that we look in vain for a hero to soften, 
and render tolerable, the annals of bloodshed, by any incidental 
action of a splendid chai*acter. 

Ifa gleam of light and interest enliven this dark picture, it 
arises from the opposition made by the most courageous of the 
British tribes, or petty nations, to the early incursions of the 
invader. We here meet with the achievements of an Arthur, 
renowned in the works of minstrels and fabulous historians. But 


• Mr. Turner (Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p. 91.) observes that 
Wittichind, " though a Saxon himself, appears to have been completely 
i^ii iraiit of the Saxon antiquities." In a note to the same page it is re- 
marked, ihit Wittichind, (the biographer of his contemporary, Otho, 
wlio liled in 972) knew Bothing of the Saxons prior to th«ir entering Thi. 


the real patriotic and warlike merits of this prince^ are so' dis- 
figured by the exaggerations of his romantic chroniclers, that we 
read with doubt the narration even of his methodised and more 
credible exploits. All that renders his actions peculiarly attrac- 
tive, is poetical blandishment. 

The struggles of a people, divided in interests as were the 
Britons, proved, however, so lamentably ineffectual, that, in the 
year 455, the sixth year after the arrival of Hengist, that leader 
succeeded in establishing the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent. — 1 
leave unnoticsd the chronology and detail of battles, which are 
of little importance in topographical researches, except as to ves- 
tiges of intrenchmeiits, or interest arising from locality ; and 
proceed to state the result of these conflicts, in the entire occu- 
pascy of England by its hardy invaders, whose various clans pro- 
gressively divided the country into several petty kingdoms. 

The extent of territory possessed by such chieftains as erected 
kingdoms in those parts of the island which yielded to their arms, 
fluctuated so much, in ensuing scenes of contention, that a gene* 
ral idea of the division of Britain among its conquerors, is, per- 
haps, best conveyed by the following statement of archbishop 
Usher, respecting the various parts into which the Saxons and 
their confederates spread themselves. 

The Jutes possessed Kent, the Isle of Wight, and that part 
of the coast of Hampshire which fronts it. 

The Saxons were distinguished from their situation, iwto 

South Saxons, who peopled Sussex. 

East Saxons, who were in Essex, Middlesex, and the south 
part of Hertfordshire. 

West Saxons, in Surrey, Hampshire (the coast of the Jutes 
excepted,) Berks, Wilts, Dorset, S(»raerset, Devon, and that part 
of Cornwall which the Britons were unable to retain, 

The Angles were divided into 

East Angles, in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, the Isle of 
Fly, and (itshquld seem) part of Bedfordshire. 

V 3 Middle 


Middle Angles, in Leicestershire, which appertained t« 

The Mercians^ divided by the Trent into 

South Mercians, in the counties of Lincoln, Northamp- 
ton, Rutland, Huntingdon, the north parts of Bedfordshire and 
Hertfordshire, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwick- 
shire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, and Shrop- 

North Mercians^ in the counties of Chester, Derby, and 

Tiie Northumbrians, who were. 

The Deiri,* in Lancaster, York, Westmoreland, Camber- 
land, and Durham. 

The Bernicians,* in Northumberland, and the south of Scot- 
land, between the Tweed and the Firth of Forth. 

In addition to this statement may be presented the following 
scheme of the Anglo-Saxon states, as drawn up by Camden : 

The kingdom of Kent \ r 

contained } T)^t county of J Kent. 

The kingdom of Sussex, or the ) rp, . - C Sussex. 

South-Saxons, contained.... > t Surrey. 

r Norfolk. 
The kingdom of the East- > I Suffolk. 

Angles contained S The counties of i Cambridge, with 

(. the Isle of Ely. 

• In explanation of these terms, it may be ebserved thatsnch part of Bri- 
tain between the Hnraber and the Clyde, as was nearest to the Huraber, was 
called Deifyr by the ancient natires ; and, after its conquest by the Saxons, 
was named Deira. — North of this tract wd» Bryneich, which term was altered, 
by tbeSuioii conquerors, to Bernicia. 



The kingdom of Wessex, or the 
West Saxons 

r Cornwall. 


WESSEX, or the > ^. . , „ 

. . > The counttti of -< Somerset. 

, contamed > 


The kingdom of Northum- 
HERLAND Contained 




I The counties of ■{ Westmorlancl. 

and Scotland, to 

the Frith 
( Essex. 


The kingdom of Essex, or (he ) _, . . Middlesex, and 

„ ° . , } The counties ot J ^ _. 

£ast-Saxons> containea..>.> i part of Hert- 

1^ fordshire. 

f Gloucester. 









t ThecoMniiMof-^ Buckingham. ; 

' Oxford. 





Chester, and the part 
j of Hertfordshire, 

I not comprised in 
the kingdom of the 

i. East- Saxons. 
P 4 It 

The kingdom of Mercia, 


It is the practice of most historians to describe England, vrhen 
divided into separate kingdoms by its Saxon conquerors, as con- 
sisting of seven states, named, (as is shewn in the above scheme 
of Camden) Wessex, or the kingdom of the West-Saxons; 
Sussex, or the kingdom of the South-Saxons ; Kent ; Essex, or 
the kingdom of the East and Middle- Saxons; East-Anglia; 
Mercia; and Northumberland. 

But the propriety of thus allotting to an Hectarchy the terri- 
tories of the Saxons in Britain, is denied by the judicious author 
to whose researches every subsequent writer on this era of his- 
tory must be greatly indebted. It is observed by Mr. Turner, 
*'that, when all the kingdoms were settled, they formed au 
octarchy. Ella, supporting his invasion in Sussex, like Hen> 
gist in Kent, made a Saxon duarchy before the year 500. When 
Cerdic erected the state of Wessex, in 519, a triarchy appeared. 
East-Anglia made it a tetrarchy ; Essex a pentarchy. The suc- 
cess of Ida, after 547, having established a sovereignty of Angles 
in Bernicia, the island beheld an hexarchy. When the northern 
Ella penetrated, in 560, southward of the Tees, his kingdom of 
Deira produced an lieptarchy. In 686, the Angles, branching 
from Deira into the regions south of the Humber, the state of 
Mercia completed an Anglo-Saxon octarchy. As the Anglo- 
Saxons warred with each other, sometimes one state was for a 
time absorbed by another, sometimes after an interval it emerged 
again. If that terra ought to be used which expresses the com- 
plete establishment of the Anglo-Saxons, it should be octar- 
chy ; if not, then the denomination must vary as the tide of con- 
quest fluctuated."* 

From the above statement of the great length of lime between 
the foundation of the first and the last of tlie Anglo-Saxon 
petty kingdoms, it will be observed that, with the exercise of 


• Hist, of Anglo-Saxons, Vol I. p. 128. The readtr »lio is desirou* of 
further investigation, is reminded that many cnlicai remarks on the Saxon 
Geograpliy of this island are presented in Mr. Whitaker'* Hist, of Maiiches- 
'let, *to. edit. Vol. II. Chnp. IV. &c. 


arms, as drawn forth by progressive exigencies, the Britons had 
gradually renewed their warlike habits. The invaders, indeed, 
were for many years so few in number, that the entire conquest 
of the island must have been an object remote from their most 
sanguiiit: views of success ; and the slow process of their conquests 
must, necessarily, have favoured the acquirement of military 
science amongst the people invaded. 

Many of the Britons who had experienced, in a pre-eminent 
degree, a renovation of that ancient independent spirit which 
enabled tlie islanders successfully to oppose the first invasion of 
Csesar, now retired into Wales; and were cheared in their hope 
of better days by the consoling prophecies of their bards; — songs 
which still live, and cause a legendary vein to mingle with the 
course of genuine history. Here, they gallantly struggled to 
the last for possession of the soil, and displayed a skill in their 
courage which must have been attended with success, tf exerted 
at an earlier period, and supported by unanimity among the other 
British tribes. In regard to these Cambro- Britons, it is finely 
observed by the author whom I have frequently quoted in late 
pages, that " the Cymry maintained the unequal conflict against 
the Anglo-Saxons with wonderful bravery, and did not lose the 
sovereignty of their country, until the improvements of their con- 
f^uerors made the conquest a blessing.'' 

When relieved from the desultory opposition of the great majo- 
rity of the Britons, the petty Saxon kings, whose element was 
war, turned their arms upon each other; and, so early as the 
year 568, commences a fresh series of bloodshed, still less inler- 
estinfi than thft preceding contests between ferocious invaders and 
their courageous, but ill-governed opponents. 

It is not requisite,' in the present examination of such marked 
historical eras as have a peculiar bearing on the pursuits of the 
topographer, that we should enter on a minute notice of the 
eyents which led to a consolidation of the Saxon octarchy under 
one supreme head. Private ambition, severely afflictive in its 
hour of immediate action, here conduced, as has been afteu seen 



in other states, to eventual and permanent good. Throughout 
the 7th and 8th centuries, the Anglo-Saxon divisions of Britain 
vacillated, in dreadful agitation, as to number and extent. In 
the former period, the mutations were generally from an heptar* 
chy to an hexarchy. The 8th century beheld it contracting to- 
-wards a triarchy. The tnterprising reigns of Ethelbald and 
Offa, prepared the way for superior dignity ; and, in the year 
800, the celebrated Egbert, destined to subdue the octarchy of 
the Anglo-Saxons, ascended the throne of Wessex. — Mercia and 
Wessex had long been greatly increasing in power, and engross- 
ing rule over the other states. Under the government of Egbert, 
the latter gained the entire ascendant, and the whole of England 
became tributary to his sceptre.* 

In this stage of our brief outline of the progress of the Anglo- 
Saxon dominion, down to the date at which it shone with the 
greatest lustre, and communicated lasting impressions to the 
laws which regulate society, and to the arts which adorn the 
aspect of the country, it is necessary to observe that the reign of 


* The popolar talc of Egbert commanding this island to be called Eng- 
land, and procuring himself to be crowned, and styled king of England, is 
said by Mr. Turner (Hist, of the Angl. Sax. Vol. I. p. 18S) to be not intitled 
to our belief. — In support of this opinion, it is observed in the above work, that, 
although if such an act had taken place, the legal title of Egbert and his suc- 
cessors would have been Rex AngUrxim, yet neither he nor his successors, till 
after Alfred, ever used it. All these sovereigns signed themselves kings of the 
West-Saxons. — •* Egbert did not establish the monarchy of England ; he as- 
serted the predominance of Wessex over the others, whom he defeated or 
made tributary ; but he did not incorporate East- Angl ia, Mercia, or Nor- 
tbumbria. It was the Danish sword which destroyed these kingdoms, and, 
thereby, made Alfred the monarcha of the Saxons. Accordingly, Alfred is 
called primus monarchm by some. But, in strict truth, the monarchy of 
England must not even be attributed to him ; because a Danish sorereiga 
divided the island with hira. It was Athelstan, wiio destroyed the Danish 
sovereignty, who may, with the greatest propriety, be intitled primns tnoiiar' 
cha Avglonim;" and, accordingly, he is intimated as possessing that distinc> 
tion, by Alured of Beverly. 


Egbert is the period at vihich tiie Djines first became formida- 
ble, as piratical invaders of England. 

These Northmen first landed, as cursory pirates, in the year 
787. They increased their depredations in following years; 
and, at length, gained so firm a footing, that they wrested the 
crown from its Saxon possessors. The eras succeeding to the reign 
of Egbert, down to the extinction of the Saxon sway, are pain- 
fully embarrassed by the wars and convulsions consequent on such 
an oscillation of power. But, as our object consists in a notice of 
the effect of each predominating nation upon the arts and manners 
of this country, considered as a theatre of action on which iuter- 
ei$ting wrecks still exist for topographical examination, 1 attend 
the Saxons to their plenitude of power, and leave to a future sec- 
tion some succinct remarks on the operations of the Danes, and 
the vestiges of their influence in Britain. 

Although there is reason to conclude, from the remarks quoted 
in the preceding page, that historians have not been correct ia 
awarding to Egbert the title of first king of all England, it is 
certain that, from the date of his reign, the kingdom of the 
West-Saxons retained an actual supremacy, highly beneficial to 
the interests of the country at large, and especially favourable to 
its advancement in magnificence. — The progress of those arts 
which adorn the soil with embellished structures, and afford the 
most pleasing subjects of antiquarian research, was severely in* 
terrupted, in the 9th century, by the wars proceeding from fre- 
quent Danish invasions. But this era is rendered of deep interest, 
in every point of view, by the reign of the Great Alfred, whose 
wisdom and excellent taste imparted a new bias of refinement to 
the English, and induced consequences, interesting to every 
class of enquirers respecting our national and local history. 

In the reign of Alfred, which commenced in 871, and termi- 
nated, after a memorable variety of fortune, in 900, or DOI, w« 
behold the rise of the Anglo-Saxon glory ; and it continued in 
meridian splendour until the decease of Edgar. This latter 

sovereign died in 976. 



The year of his death may be noticed as the date at which be- 
gan the decline of the Anglo-Saxon greatness. Edward, hit 
youthful successor, shortly fell a victim to the cruelty and ambi- 
tion of a step-mother; and in the time of Ethelred, second on 
the throne after the powerful Edgar, the foreign Danes, who had 
long refrained from molesting England, renewed their incursions; 
and were so successful as to lay the foundation of a new monarchy 
in this island. Edmund (surnamed Ironside, from his hardihood) 
the illegitimate son of Ethelred, was only in possession of a crown 
divided with the Danish Canute, at his death in 1016. After 
an interruption from the Danish ascendancy, Edward the Con- 
fessor, son of the same Ethelred, mounted the throne in 1041. 
The reign of this prince is of some importance with the antiquary, 
but is deserving of little respect from the general historian. In 
the person of Harold the Second, who was slain in opposing 
\ViHiam, Duke of Normandy, in the year 106t>, we behold the 
last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. 

Before we enter on a notice of the architectural, and other 
antiquities, ascribed to the Anglo-Saxon ages, it appears desirable 
to present some remarks concerniug such regulations of the civil 
polity adopted by that people, as still operate on the political and 
ecclesiastical divisions of the country. It may be equally accept- 
able to add a succinct review of such parts of their legal code, as 
assist in conveying explicit ideas of the state of society, when the 
castle, whose presumed ruins are shortly to be examined, was 
erected for the protection of the Anglo-Saxon sovereign or noble, 
and the ecclesiastical structure founded, as a monument of his 
piety. Much difficulty occurs in appropriating, with a security 
of correctness, such architectural remains to these obscure ages. 
The vestiges of their civil regulations are less equivocal, and do, 
indeed, constituted speeies of moral antiquities, which the judi- 
cious topographer and antiquary can scarcely fail to deem worthy 
of attentive consideration. 

These subjects may be treated under the heads of, " The Anglo" 



Saxon Civil Divisions of England ;" and, " Remarks on the 
Laws of the Anglo-Saxons." 

On the Anglo-Saxon civil divisions of England.— 
The division of England into tythings, hundreds, and counties, 
has been generally attributed to Alfred. But this supposition 
appears to be erroneous, as the tything and shire existed iu Bri- 
tain some ages before the reign of that illustrious monarch, and 
are recognised by the laws of Ina, king of the West Saxons, be- 
fore the close of the seventh century. It is probable that they , 
formed part of the polity brought from Germany, by the Saxons, 
as they appear to have existed at an early period among^ the 
Francs, and other contemporary nations.* 

The circumstance of so judicious a civil division of territory 
being almost universally added to the other glories of Alfred, 
yiill be easily accounted for, if vie depend on the assertion of 
Ingulphus, whose authority is accepted by Sir William Dugdale,f 
and other writers. It is said by Ingulphus, that Alfred compiled 
a survey similar to that afterwards produced by order of the 
Norman Conqueror, in which the lands of the kingdom were first 
regularly classed in their respective shires and hundreds. Thig 
^ork is believed to have existed at Winchester, on the advent 
ef the Normans, but is since lost. That Alfred reduced the 
political divisions to more regular order, and perhaps completed 
the arrangement of neglected or disputed portions of bis domi- 
nions, appear to be the conclusions arising from an iuvestigatioQ 
of the authorities on this subject. In order to revive a clear idea 
of the nature of these several divisions, it may be desirable to 
take a cursory view of each. 


* That hundreds existed among the Germans, mriy he gathered from Taci- 
tus, who, iu his work Je morib. Germ, describes a hundred-court with great 

t Pref. to Antiijuities of Warwickihife. 


Tb« Tything consisted of au association of ten free^men, 
householders, answerable for each other.* By this institv- 
lion every free master of a family became a Friborg, or frank- 
pledge, to the government, for the good and peaceable be- 
haviour of all the peniOns within it; a measure which is assert- 
ed by our ancient historians to have been necessary, for " that, 
by example of the Danes, the natural inhabitants were greedy 
of spoil, so that no man could passe to and fro in safety, with* 
out defensive weapons."f Tiiat public outrages would be very 
frequent among a people inured to war, and torn by petty con- 
tentions and predatory incursions, will be readily imagined. 
This may be supposed to have led to the method of insuring peace 
by the formation of tythings. The Friborg, thus, not only gave, 
security for his own behaviour, but had nine neighbouring masters 
of families for his sponsors. Over these ten householders, thus 
associated, was appointed a Dean, or Tything man, who received 
their recognizances, and held a court for the regulation of his 


* Tythings, towns, and vilU, are used as sjnoniraous terms. In process of 
time, b; the increase of inhabitants, there arose small nppendages to these 
towns, called humlets ; and the distinctions of entire vills, deroi-vills, and 
hamlets, are noticed so early as 14. Edward I. (Blackst. Comm. Vol. I. p. 
115.) Sir Henry Spelman considers that an entire vill consisted often free- 
men, or frank-pledges; demi-viils of five; and hamlets of less than five. 
(Gloss. 274.) 

+ Dugd. Warw. after Will. Malms, f. «4. a. n. 40, 

$ It is maintained by Mr. Whitaker (Hist. Manch. Vol. II. p. 113, et seq.) 
that the Friborg of the Saxons was not the master of a common family, but 
the proprietor of a lordship, or the chieftain of a township, of which all the 
inhabitants were his servants, eugaged in the ministries of his house, or em- 
ployed in the care of his cattle, or lands. From Mr, Whitaker's reasoning on 
this subject, which is pursued with much ingenuity, he would wish to infer 
tliat the Saxou tj'thing was nothing more than the manor of the present days, 
of which the tea families that were incorporated into the deanery, becarat 
the ten lordships. The seignior of a tything would, thas, become what the 



The southeru parts of England were furtlier divided into Aun- 
ireds. A hundred was formed by the incorporation of ten tyth- 
ings. These, it may be supposed, originally contained at least 
one hundred (which, in Saxon numeration, means 120*) free 
householders, who were respectively enrolled in the different 
decennaries. That the hundreds were originally regulated by th« 
population, may be with certainty inferred from the great number 
of hundreds in the counties first peopled by the Saxons. Thus, 
when Domesday was compiled, Kent and Sussex each contained 
more than sixty hundreds, as they still continue to do. While, 
in Lancashire, a county comprising a greater area than either, 
there are no more than six hundreds; and, in Cheshire, only 
seven. This irregularity in the distribution of territory, is, in- 
deed, perceptible throughout the whole kingdom.f 


lord of a manor continues to be, the one tegent and justiciary of thu disttic^ 
and his court the one tribunal for the manor. The nianerial jadicatareis, 
certainly, denominated The view of Frank-pledge, and the Tything-court. 
• Vide Domesday Book, Vol. I. In Civ, Line, 
t The irregularity is so great, that, while several hundreds do not exceed 
a square mile in area, nor a population of lOOO persons, the hundreds of 
Lancashire average at SOO s(iuare miles in area, and one of them (Salfurd 
hundred) includes at present a population of 250,000. To remedy this 
•triking irregularity, an attempt was made, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, 
by ordaining Divisions (called, also, limitSj or circuits) the existence of 
which is more or less manifest in most of the English counties. These divi- 
cions seem to have been formed by a junction of small, or a partition of 
large, hundreds, as was required by each particular case. To reform ancient 
customs, which have been long associated with the occurrences of common 
Lfe, is, however, an inconvenient task. An instance of this occurs in Wales, 
aeveral of tlie counties of which principality were erected, by act of Parlia- 
ment, in 153.5 J and the ancient districts called Canirel's and Comm»ts wer« 
altered into hundreds, by virtue of a commission under the great seal. This 
alteration met. however, with much unexpected difficulty; and, although 
extended periods were allowed for its taking effect, yet the new counties and 
hundreds exhibit more instances of indistinct boundary, that is, of purishes 
andtowMhipi not sontcrmiooui with the county or hundred, than do th« 



The hundred was governed by an officer viho at staled periods 
held in it the hundred court for the trial of causes, snbject, how- 
ever, to the control of the king's courts. At this period the cus- 
tom of rendering the hundred responsible for robberies com- 
mitted between sun and sun, is believed to have had its origin. 
In the northern counties, formerly so much exposed to hostile 
invasion, a distinct division of territory was adopted in the 
place of hundreds, under the names of wards and wapen- 

A Shire, or County, is composed of an indefinite number of hun- 
dreds. Shire is a Saxon word signifying a division. The term 
County, (Comitatus) is unquestionably derived from Comes, the 
count of the Francs ; an officer of similar jurisdiction with the earl, 
(«or/) or alderman, (ca/rforman) of the Saxons, to whom the govern- 
ment of the shire was entrusted.! This government the earl usu- 
ally exercised by his deputy, called the sheriff^", shrieve, or shire' 
reeve. J The precise time at which the Saxons introduced the divi- 
sion by counties into England, is unknown; but such a division cer- 

ancient conntiea} while the retnembrauce of the abolished Cautrefs and Cont' 
mot$, still occasionally creates some confusion. (Prel. Observ. Pop. Abstract 

• The latter division is thought to bave acquired its name from the custom 
of the inhabitants assembled together at a public meeting, confirming their 
union with the governor, by touching his weapon, or lance. 

t It frequently occurs that portions of a county are separated from the 
main body, and insulated by the surrounding shires. This is supposed te 
have arisen from their originally belonging, before the limits of counties were 
absolutely settled, to some powerful person, whose residence was far dis- 
tant; and which, therefore, in old assessments, were rated in the county 
where bis mansion lay. These lands continuing so taxed, beraroe a reputed 
part of that shire. The same observation may be applied to insulated por- 
tions of parishes and hundreds. Dugd. Warw. p. 441, 556. 

$ In the Saxon times the Bishop sate in the county court with the earl, and 
in the shrieves-tnrn with the shrieve, as he did also with the lord of the bun- 
<re4 in the hundred court. Pref, Dugd. Warw. Ac. 


existed during the Heptarchy, and, therefore, long aaterior to 
the reign of Alfred. 

An intermediate division between the shire and the hundred, 
arose in some counties, as the districts termed Lathes in Kent, 
and i?a/9« in Sussex, each of which contains several hundreds. 
These subordinate divisions had formerly their separate officers, 
called lathe-reeves and rape-reeves. The division of a county 
into three of these intermediate jurisdictions, introduced the dis- 
tinclioii of Trithings, which still subsist in the county of York, 
under the corrupted appellation of Ridings.* 

While treating of the divisions of England in the Saxon period, 
it may not he irrelevant to make a few observations on that divi- 
sion termed a pamA, which, in regard to this country, owes it» 
origin to the same era. The precise date at which this ecclesi- 
astical division was first introduced, is involved in equal uncer- 
tainty with the civil distribution of the country. While arch- 
bishop Parker and Camden attribute the measure to archbishop 
Honorius, about the year 636, Sir Henry Hobart f considers 
that parishes were first erected by the council of Lateran, which 
was held in 1179. The truth seems to be, that they were gra- 
dually formed as Christianity spread itself in the island; and 
they appear to have been originally co-extensive with manors. 

It is observed by Blackstone, on the authority of Selden, that, 
in the early ages of Christianity, there "was no appropriation 
of ecclesiastical dues to any particular church; but every mau 

Q was 

The number of counties in England and Wales has varied at difftrent 
tiroes. Tliey are, at present, forty in England, and twflve in Wales. Of 
these, three are called counties palatine, viz. Chester, Durham, and Lan- 
caster. Several cities and towns are counties corporate, possessing grants of 
"the privilege of forming counties of themselves. Of this description are 
twelve cities and five towns. The cities are London, Chester, Bristol, Copoi- 
try, Canterbury, Eieter, Gloucester, Litchfield, Lincoln, Norwich, Worcester, 
and York. The towns are Kingaton-upon-Hult, Kottivgham, Nev>ea$tU^pour 
Tyne, Pool, and Southampton. . - . 

t Hob. 296.Biackst. Vol. I. p. llf. 


was at liberty to contribute his tithes to whatever priest or chorek 
he pleased, provided only that he did it to some; or, if he made n» 
special appointment, or appropriation, thereof, they were paid 
into the hands of the bishop, whose duty it was to distribute 
them araon^ the clergy, and (or other pious parposes, according 
to his own discretion/** 

The laws of king Edgar, which were promulgated about the 
year 960, clearly recognise the existence of established parochial 
districls,t and direct that the tith&s of land should be paid to the 
church of the parish in which they are situated. Churches, for 
the accommodation of their tenants, were, assuredly, built by 
the great proprietors of land, as civilization and security were 
added to the blessings arising from a conversion to Christianity. 
Hence, parishes were formed: and thus (in the first instance 
from the operation of the laws of Edgar) churches were endowed. :{1 
These divisions are, therefore, of divers limits and extent, usually 
varying with the property of the lord who first built the church, 
&nd endowed it with the tithes of his manor, or manors. § Some 


• ComrneBt. Vol. I. Seld. of titli. 9. 4. he. 

f Bj the term Parish may be understood " tliat circuit of ground which i» 
coinniitted to the charge of one parson, ur vicar, or other minister, having 
cure of souls therein." Comment. Vol. I. p. 110. In the early ages of 
Christianity, the terms parish tnd diocese appear to have had a similar ap> 

I This may account for the circumstance of an ancient church being gene- 
rally found near the manor house. The distinction of Mother churches oc- 
curs as early as the laws of king Edgar, or about the year 960. It appears 
that any lord who possessed a private chapel within his demesnes, having i^ 
Cemetery, or consecrated place of burial, might allot one third of hi9 
tythes to the raaintenunce of the ofitv;iatiug rainiiter. Hub. c. 2. BJackst. 
Vol. T. p. 112. 

f In the northern counties, thirty or forty square roilei is no unusual area 
of a parish. Parishes, in the north, average at seven or eight times the arc» 
•f those in the southern counties. The limits of the couutry parishes, from 
tlw conflicting rights of tyilie-owners, and the perambulations ordained by 
Ike c«Rou law, seem t»feare been speedily ascertained, and appear t« b«- 



districts still remain extra-parochial, having originally possessed 
no peculiar appropriation of tythes.* 

On the Laws of the Anglo-Saxons. — The legal code 
introduced by the Anglo-Saxons is deserving of peculiar atten- 
tion in this place, as it forms the basis of the laws prevailing 
through each division of history that will be subsequently noticed ; 
and is, in itself, an object of great interest and curiosity. 

It has been observed, and with apparent justice, that to our 
Saxon ancestors we may consider ourselves indebted for the spirit 
of liberty and independaiice that has since characterised the inlia> 
bitants of this island ; and which, by regarding with a jealous 
eye the prerogatives of the crown, has produced a judicious mix- 
lure of freedom and authority, that has gradually established 
the august and envied fabric of the British constitution.! 

That the Saxons, on their arrival in Britain, had no written 
laws, but were governed by certain customs, which had been the 
rule of conduct lo their ancestors for many ages, appears to be 
universally allowed, t This seems to have been the case with all 
the northern nations who over-ran, and subdued, the difierent 
provinces of the Roman empire. The acquaintance with letters, 
produced by their successful irruptions into more favoured climes, 
enabled them to reduce their traditional customs into writing; 

Q 2 and 

nearly the same as now established, in the Taiatio EccU$iattktt, compiled in 
ehe reign of king Edward the First, A. D. l'^88— 1292. This observation 
will not, however, apply to the town parishes; wliirh, from increase of 
population, and other causes, were, in fortner times, cuntinaaily varying in 
jauDiber and extent. The numbtr of parishes and parochial chapelries now 
in England and Wales, is stated at 10,674. Fopul. Abstr. 1811. 

* These districts are usually found to have been the site of religious houses 
•r of ancient castles, whose owners may be supposed, in rude times, to have 
resisted any interference with their authority within the limits of their resi* 
ience. Pop. Ab. 1811. 

t Introduction to Bawdwen's Translat. Domesday, p. 7. 

t Tacit, de morib. German, c. 19. Henry's Hist. Brit. Vol. III. p. 389. 


and this emanation from one common source, has caused a strikrng^ 
similarity to prevail between the ancient laws of all the states 
formed by the permanent establishment of those warlike tribes.* 
The division of this island into various petty states, produced, 
however, by insensible degrees, variations between their respec- 
tive laws; " yet held they all an uniformity in substance, differ- 
ing rather in their mulcts than in their canon; that is, in the 
quantity of fines and amercements, than in the course and frame 
of justiee/'t 

The intelligent eye of Alfred, which surveyed the remotest 
corner of his newly cemented kingdom, perceived the inconveni- 
ences resulting from these discrepancies in its municipal regula- 
tions; and having completed the arrangement of its internal divi- 
sions, he reduced the oustoms of the several provinces to a gene- 
ral standard, by compiling his Dome-book, or liber judicialis. 
This he appears to have digested for the use of the court-baron, 
hundred and county-court, the court-lcet, and sheriff's-tourn ; 
tribunals established by Alfred, for the local distribution of jus- 
tice, but \vhich were all subject to the inspection and control of 
the king's own courts, which were then itinerant, being held in 
the royal palace, and attending the person of the king in his pro- 
gresses through his dominions. | This invaluable work, the pre- 
servation of which would have thrown such desired light on tht 
institutions of that early period, is said to have been extant so 
late as the reign of Edward the Fourth, an age in which, from 
the invention of the art of printing, it was likely to be handed 
down to posterity ; but, amid the civil contentions which then 
convulsed the kingdom, it unfortunately disappeared. 

The irruptions, and ultimate establishment, of the Danes in 
England, introduced new customs, and caused the code of the 


* Vide Liud. Cod. Leg. Antiq. Wilkins Lfges Saxou. Hen. Hist. Vol. III. 
p. 389. 

f Reliquae. Spelinan. p. 49. 

; lilackst«ae'it Comm. Vel. IV. p. 411- 


celebrated Alfred to fall into disuse in many parts. About the 
i)eg:inning of the eleventh century, there appear to have been 
three distinct systems of laws prevailing in different districts : 
the Mercen-lage, or Mercian Jaws, which were observed in 
many of the midland counties, and those bordering on the princi- 
pality of Wales, and which, therefore, possibly contained many 
of the ancient customs of the Britons; the West-Saxon-lage, or 
laws of the West-Saxons, which obtained in the southern and 
western counties of the island, from Kent to Devonshire, and 
were, probably, the same as the laws of Alfred, being the muni- 
cipal law of that portion of the kingdom, including Berkshire, 
the seat of his peculiar residence; and tlie Dane-lage, or Danish 
law, -which was maintained in the rest of the midland counties, 
and, also, on the eastern coast, the part most exposed to the 
visits of that piratical people.* 

From these various discrepant customs, the compilation of one 
uniform law, or digest of laws, was commenced by king Edgar, 
and completed by king Edward the Confessor; which appears to 
have been little more than a new edition, or fresh promulgation 
of Alfred's code, or Dome-book, with such additions and im- 
provemeuts as the experience of a century and a half had sug- 
gested ; particularly by the incorporation of many of the British, 
or Mercian, customs, and the most approved of those introduced 
by the Danes. These were the laws so fondly cherished by our 
ancestors in succeeding ages, and which subsequent princes so 
often promised to keep and restore, in order to obtain popularity 
when pressed by foreign emergencies or domestic discontents, f 

A great portion of those maxims and rules of law, which, at 
Q 3 present; 

• Hale's Hist. Cotnm. Law. 55. Blackst. Coiiini. Vol. I. p. 65- It must 
be observed, ihat the above opinion, as to a diversity of Jaws obtaining in 
three distinct districts, is controverted by Bishop Nicholson; who contends, 
in tiie preface to VVilliins's edition of the Saxon laws, that the " word lage, 
mistaken by the Norman writers for their ley, or loi, in reality signifies dtlio, 
or jurisdiction." 

+ Blackst. Comuj. Vol. I p. 66. lb. Vol. IV. p. 412. 


present, coustitute the common law of England, may, with con- 
fidence, be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon era. It has been, in- 
deed, contended that they are wholly derived from the Britoas ;* 
but, although this is, unquestionably, the case with some, as has 
been observed in a former page,f yet the customs of those differ- 
ent nations which successively established themselves in the island, 
were necessarily incorporated with them. The pertinacity with 
which the descendants of the Britons clung to the Saxon institu- 
tions, in opposition to the innovations introduced by the Nor- 
mans at the conquest, would induce the belief that they formed 
. the foundation of that common law, which it became the pride and 
boast of succeeding ages to maintain. 

The fVitena-gemot of the Saxons, comprising the principal 
landed proprietors of the kingdom, was the supreme assembly of 
the state; combining, like our present House of Lords, the legis- 
lative and judicial capacities. The qualifications for sitting in 
this august assembly, are allowed to have consisted in territorial 
possessions ; and it is generally considered that forty hides of land 
constituted an eligibility; yet whether that property eutitled 
persons to a seat in the gemot, or only qualified them to be elected 
by their peers, as their representatives there, is now involved 
in impenetrable obscurity. | Thus much concerning them is cer- 
tain, that they not only assisted the monarch with their counsel, 
in cases of state exigency, but their consent was necessary to the 
validity or promulgation of the laws, as all the remaining laws 
of that period profess to have been enacted with their concurrence. § 
What were the leading characteristics of these regulations, it may 
be interesting briefly to examine. 

That wise institution, and invaluable privilege, the IVial by 
Jury, is referable to the Saxon period, although it cannot be 
precisely ascertained at what time it was first introduced. In- 

• Fortescue. c. 17. + Vide ante. p. 31— -3?. 

J Turner's Hist, Angl. Sax. Vol. II. p. 2?0, et scq. 
\ ^l»ckst. Coniiu. Vol. I. p, I4&> 


^ed, it ^'ould seem probable, that this mode of trial was adopted 
by gradual and imperceptible degrees ; as its origin may be 
traced to a principle in use at a very early date. When a man 
was accused of any crime, it was a judicial custom of the Saxons, 
that he might clear himself, if he could procure a certain number 
of persons to come foinvard and swear that they believed bim 
guiltless of the allegation. These persons so produced, were 
called compurgators, and appear to have been literally juratores; 
and the veredictum sworn to by them, so far determined the case 
as to acquit the prisoner. Although the custom of acquittal by 
compurgators, has been doubted, by some writers, to have been 
the origin of juries,* yet they appear so nearly to resemble a 
jury in its early and rude shape, that, perhaps, we may safely as- 
sign that judicious and inestimable institution to this remote 
origin.f That the trial by jury existed at the time of the Con- 
quest, is not disputed. 

The custom of acquittal by compurgators, who were originally 
produced, or nominated, by the party accused, made it necessary 
to attach inviolable sanctity to the obligation of an oath; and we, 
consequently, find that oaths were administered in the most 
solemn and impressive manner, both in respect to the place of 
administering, and the form of words and ceremonies used ; yet, 
even these circumstances, so likely to produce a deep impres- 
sion on the imagination, in an age of ignorance and superstition, 
did not prevent the frequent occurrence of perjury, j although 
that crime was punished with great severity. 

As the power of the church gradually advanced, new forms of 
judicial proceedings were introduced by its crafty ministers; and 
the sanctity of the proceedings, aided by the difficulty of pro- 
caring a sufficient number of compurgators for the purp<tse of ac- 

Q 4 quiltol, 

• Henry's Hist. Brit. Vol. III. p. 494. 

♦ See an extended inquiry into tliis subject, and various documents illus- 
trative of the gradual improvement of the custom of acquittal by coiflpargv 
tors, in Turner's Hist. Angl.Sax. Vol. II. p. 271, rt seq. 

t Hen. Hist. Vol. III. p. 426. ' "^ '^'•* < 


quittal, whicli, in some cases, were required to be very numer- 
ous, frequently induced the accused to appeal to Heaven for proof 
of their. innocence, which introduced the custom of Trial by Or- 
deal. Of this mode of trial there were several kinds, of which the 
most common were the ordeal of th^ cross; the ordeal oftbecors- 
ued ; the ordeal of cold water ; the ordeal of hot water ; and the 
ordeal of hot iron.* These several modes of trial were preceded by 
various superstitious solemnities; and while they were popular, the 
trials by jurators were of unfrequeut occurrence ; but as men began 
to perceive the futility of such blind appeals to Heaven, the legal 
tribunals became more resorted to, and juries more frequent.f 

The laws of succession to property were such as appear most 
consonant to the natural wishes and desires of mankind ; chil- 
dren were the heirs of their fathers. When the children were all 
sons, the property was equally divided among them, and the 
same rule obtained when they were all daughters ; but the pro- 
portions in which it descended, if there were children of both 
sexes, is not clearly ascertained. When a man died without 
children, his nearest relations inherited his possessions ; and, in 
defanlt of heirs, the whole fell to the king. This, however, was 
only in the instance of those who died intestate, the testamentary 
bequest of property being allowed, under certain restrictions, in 
the more advanced periods of the Anglo Saxon era.j The cus- 
tom of inheritance by Borough-english, in which the youngest 
sou was the heir, to the exclusion of the rest, is, also, said to 
have prevailed in some districts duriiig the Saxon times.§ 

The Matrimonial laws of the Anglo-Saxons were calculated 
to prevent unequal, or imprudent, contracts. For this purpose 
every woman was considered to be under the legal guardianship 
of some man, who was termed her Mundbora, and no act of 


• For a particular description of these several ordeals, see Henry's Hut. 
Brit.}Vol. III. p. 428, el seq. 

t Turner's Hist. Aagl. Sax. Vol. II. p. 275. 

I Wilkins. Leges. Saxon, p. "£66. Hen. Hist. Vol. III. p. 401— 405. 

j T»»rocr'» AngI, Sax. Vol. II, p. 181. 


hers was valid, without his consent. On her marriage, her 
mundbora received a pecuniary recompense for his ward, in the 
shape of a present, of an amount limited by her rank, which 
was called her mede, or price; and if any one were rash 
enough to commit the crime of mundhreach, by marrying a 
woman without the consent of her guardian, he acquired no 
legal authority over his wife, or any of her goods, by such a 
marriage. The husband, on his marriage, received from the 
friends of his bride a considerable present, in furniture, arms, cat- 
tle, or money, according to the circumstances of her family, 
which was called faderfium (father-gift;) but was bound, on the 
first moiiiing of their marriage, to present her with a morgcengife, 
or morning-gift, the amount of which was also limited by law, 
and which became the separate property of the wife.* 

Whilst the rights of the female part of the community were 
thus protected, their connubial fidelity was enforced by severe 
penalties,f and even the breach of decorum was signally pun- 
ished; it being a rule of Anglo-Saxon law, that if a widow should 
marry, within twelvemonths after the decease of her husband, 
she should forfeit her morgeu-gift, and all the property derived 
from her first marriage;! a rule that appears to have influenced 
the period, which is considered, at the present day, as the test 
of a decorous exhibition of grief. 

The great leading principle in the penal laws of the Anglo- 
Saxons, even in offences of the most flagrant nature, appears to 
have been, rather the compensation of the injury sustained, than 
the punishment of the crime. For this purpose, every man had a 
fixed value, in proportion to his rank, which was called his were, 
or uere-gt/Id; and the destroyer of his life was punished by the 
payment of this were to his family or relations. In addition to 
this, he was also compelled to pay a certain pecuniary compen- 


• VVilklns. p. 147, Hen, Hist- Vol. Ill, p. 396.397. Ice. 
t Wilkins. p. 2, S. Turner, Vol. IT. p. 253— 25i. 
, i Wilkins, 145. Turner, Vol. II. p. M. -^.trjol' {' 


sation, called his tvite, to the chief magistrate presiding over the 
district^ for the loss which the commanity had sustained. * The 
pecuniary commutation of crime appears extraordinary, in the 
view of a more enlightened age; yet, perhaps, among a people 
trained to war, and accustomed to behold the terrors of death 
with undaunted firmness, the evils of poverty were more dreaded 
than the infliction of capital punishment. 

This scale of recompence pervaded the whole of their regula- 
tions respecting personal injuries ; and the price of wounds in- 
flicted on different parts of the body, was fixed with microscopic 

Besides the tcere, or personal valuation, which secured the in- 
dividual from violence, and fixed the amount of punishment for 
any offence committed by him, his domestic peace was, also, 
guarded by a rnundbyrd, or right of protection, possessed by 
every one for mutual benefit. The price of its violation was pro- 
portioned to the rank of the patron. This privilege appears to 
be the principle of that doctrine still so fondly adhered to ; namely, 
that every man\ house is his caslle.f 

The mode of punishment by pecuniary mulcts, it will be sop- 
posed was favourable to the wealthy part of the community, who 
could afford to gratify their private revenge, without fear of other 
inconvenience than payment of the customary amercement; while 
the absolutely abject and needy escaped with impunity. We, 
consequently, find that although they were the most popular of 
the legal punishments, they were, in process of time, discovered 
to be ineffectual, and others were enacted. Among these appear 
most of the punishments inflicted at the present day, together 
with some which could only be allowed to exist in a barbarous 
and uncivilized state.! 

Theft was considered by the Anglo-Saxons, as a crime of 


. • Wilkins, p. «, 3. Turner, Vol. II. p. «41. 
+ Turner, Vol. II. p. 257. 
% Turner's Aiigl. Sax. Vol. H. p. 269. 


great enormity; and, in many instances, was punished by the 
amputation of the hand and foot, and even by death. In the reign 
of Ethelstan, a principle was introduced which still prevails, by 
an enactment that no one should lose his life for stealing less than 
twelve pence.* 

Among the institutions of this period, which have continued to 
the present time, may be noticed the system of giving securities, 
or bail, to answer an accusation ; which custom appears to have 
been coeval with the Saxon nation. This system was, indeed, 
subsequently carried by them to a burthensome and degrading 
height ; not being confined to those who were accused of crime, 
but extending to the whole community, who thus gave surety to 
answer anticipated criminality. This object was effected by the 
division of England into counties, hundreds, and tithings, and 
by the direction that every man should belong to some tithing 
or hundred ; which divisions were pledged to the preservation of 
the public peace, and were answerable for the conduct of their 
inhabitants. The system of placing all the people under borh, or 
bail, the origin of which is attributed to Alfred, is first clearly 
enforced in the laws of Edgar. 

From this brief review of the laws of our Saxon ancestors, it 
will appear that, although they partook of that imperfection 
which is inseparable from all human institutions, and which may 
be expected peculiarly to characterise the regulations of an un" 
lettered age, yet that they contained, in many instances, prin- 
ciples which have influenced, in no mean degree, the laws of 
the present more enlightened period. 


Military Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxons.— Previous 
to any remarks on the prevailing characteristics of such military 


• Wilkius, p. 70. Tarner, Vol. II. p. 25». 

SS6 lNTR0DUCT10^f. 

structures as are believed to liave been raised by the Anglo^ 
Saxons, it should be observed that Mr. King, in his elaborate 
vork, intituled Mu}mnfn^a ^7i^i«^ua, expatiates, at some length, 
on the probability of several castles of stone, still remaining in this 
country, being really the work of ages anterior to the Saxon in- 
vasion. The greater number of such fortresses he supposes either 
to have been constructed by " Phoenician settlers, or some other 
foreigners from the east;" or, otherwise, by Britons situated in 
such parts as were visited by the Phoenicians at a very early date, 
and who had acquired the plan and art of building conspicuous in 
such strong holds, by " conversing" with the foreign merchants 
who visited their coasts. 

In support of an opinion so new and bold, Mr. King presents 
numerous remarks on the resemblance, which he believes may be 
ascertained, between these buildings, and those intended for 
similar purposes of defence and security in Syria, Media, and 
Persia; and he justly notices their entire disagreement with the 
plan and customary dimensions of castellated fortresses raised by 
the Romans, or any subsequent invaders of this island. 

Launceston Castle, in Cornwall* may be mentioned as an 
instance of the buildings thus supposed by Mr. King to be of 
ancient British origin, and described by him as being imitative 
«f the eastern manner.— This castle is placed on a conical hill, 
of great height ; but the keep is of small dimensions, being, in- 
deed, net more than eighteen feet and an half in diameter, within. 
This part of the building (its prominent and most important 
feature) is round; and the walls are, at least, ten feet in thick- 
ness. The keep is surrounded by three concentric wails of stone; 
aud there was formerly a fourth wall, placed at the foot of the 
circular rock on which the caslle stands. Beyond this fourth 
wall are still visible the remains of anolh«>r strong wall, and a 
great surrounding ditch. But this latter rampart has been re- 
paired at different periods, and, perhaps, did noi form part of 


• llii* building is described io the Beaujliet for Cornwall, p. J558— 360, 


Ihe original design. In its present state it appears to have been 
Anally completed by the Normans^ with several towers ai»d a gale, 
strictly in the Anglo-Norman mode of military architecture. 

That this castle, so boldly and laboriously placed on the top 
of an immense conical hill, and differing in its principal features 
from any known military work of the various invaders of Britain, 
was possibly constructed by British inhabitants of the island, 
may be allowed without any great concession of faith. Its pre- 
sumed similitude with the modes practised by eastern builders, is 
a curious subject of speculation, but one that is not likely ever 
to produce any other than an hypothetical conclusion. And, 
even if the similitude be ascertained, it will, perhaps, be found 
to exist only in such general and elementary particulars, as wer« 
likely to be common to all nations, at the same stage of society, 
and practising, in a general way, the same modes of assault and 
defence. [ 

A second instance of an imitation of eastern architecture, ae- 
cording to the conjecture of Mr. King, may be noticed at 
Brynllys, or Brunless castle, iii Brecknockshire, South- Wales.* 
In this instance it is observable that the tower is not placed, as 
at Launceston, upon a high rocky hill, there being, indeed, non« 
such, naturally formed, near the spot ; but has, in its own structure, 
as is likewise found in some other ancient buildings in this is- 
land (and, according to Mr. King, in Syria) the "appearance 
of a little artificial mount formed of stone; and a little rise of 
ground beneath." 

In both the buildings noticed above, as well as in most of the 
ancient castellated structures of England and Wales, innovations 
have been made by occupiers in succeeding ages, which are, 


• See this castle noticed, together with critical remark* on the opinion of 
Mr. King, in the Beauties for South Wales, p. 123, et seq.— The author of 
that part of the work offers some obserTations, in opposition to a conjecture 
of Mr. King respecting indistinct arcftes in this castle, which are entitled to 
deliberate attention, as they are founded on an investigation of many build- 
ings in recluse parts of Wales. 


however, easily separated from the work of the original builder, 
by a due attention to the marked styles prevailing in subsequent 

But the Phrygians, the Medians, and the Phoenicians, are 
not the only builders supposed by Mr. King to have been imi- 
tated by the Britons, in structures which still remain, although 
in a ruined condition, to attest their ingenuity and industry. 
This writer conjectures that works of the Britons, imitative of 
Soman architecture, are still to be discovered in several parts of 
the island. 

Conspicaous among these is the castle of Cam-breh, in Com- 
wall, which Dr. Borlase believes to have been in part a British 
building, and which Mr. King supposes, from many other cir- 
cumstances " besides its old arches, and the sort of squareness 
of its towers, to have been a work of the Britons, constructed in 
haste, in imitation of Roman works, and, probably, just after 
the island had been deserted by the Romans."''^ 

This castle stands on a rocky knoll, and the foundation of th« 
building is laid on an irregular ledge of vast rocks, whose sur- 
faces are very uneven, one part being much higher than the other. 
" The rocks are not contiguous; and, in consequence of tiiis cir- 
cumstance, the architect contrived as many rude arches from 
rock to rock as would be sufficient to support the connecting wall 
above. The whole edifice, consequently, becomes distorted. 
It consists of two small, ill-joined, towers, intended, indeed, 
to appear as square, but neither of which in reality is so; and 
is placed in a most oblique and awkward direction, on ac- 
ronnt of the irregularity of the rocky foundation. One of the 
towers, an ancient one, has three stories ;" and, in the same part 
of the building, is a large square window, at a great height. In 
other parts, the walls " are pierced with small square holes, or 
a sort of rude loops, to descry an enemy, and to discharge arrows."f 


* Munimenta Antiqua, VoL lit. p. 140. 
f Ibid, 139 — 140.~CAra-breh castle is briefly notio«d in the Beauties for 



Some remains of fortresses occur in Wales, which Mr. King 
likewise attributes to a British imilatioa of the Roman mode of 
architecture. These principally consist of a structure called 
Castell Comdochon, or Comdorkon, which is situated on the 
summit of a high rock, " about a mile from the Dolgellen road, 
on the way leading up toSnowdon;" and remains of fortifica- 
tion at Caerleon, in ancient Wales. 

The opinions of Mr. King, respecting a seeming imitation of 
the style of various early nations, to be observed in numerous 
military antiquities of England and Wales, are, probably, no 
more than fanciful pursuits of an argument founded on the simi- 
larity to be ascertained in the rude works of nearly all countries. 
We may, however, with safety, deem it likely that there are 
still to be seen vestiges of fortified buildings constructed by th* 
Britons, while they preserved their national name and partial in- 
dependence. — We know that the skill of British workmen is muctk 
praised by ancient writers ; and it is recorded that many were 
taken to assist in foreign works by Maximus and Honorius. — To 
wave a consideration of earlier ages, it would appear probable 
that the princes who obtained sway in different parts of the is- 
land, might call into exercise the useful talent so well attested, 
during their opposition to the progressive encroachments of the 

It is very certain that the high antiquity of a castle is rather 
argued than disproved, by the silence of our earliest topographi- 
cal writers respecting its original. Leland and Camden, cautious 
in the infancy of their science, appear to have been guided en- 
tirely by written documents, in an estimate concerning the foun* 
datiou of a structure; and, where a building was beyond the 


Cornwall, p. 510. — On a still more elevated part of Carn-breh hill, is a struc- 
ture denominated the OU castle, which, from its ciicular forpi, limited di> 
mentions, and other circumstances, Mr. King, indulging a favourite hypo- 
thesis, supposes to have been erected by the Britons, at a still earlier period, 
•nd in attention to the Phoinician style of building. _ 


reach of legal memory, they, in most instances, contentedly 
passed it over, and lefl it in the obscurity in which they found it. 

Fortified buildings of stone, ascribed to the Britons in early 
ages, are usually found in situations exposed to little danger of 
depredation, except when inhabited, and rich in expected internal 
plunder. It may be presumed, without hesitation, that the as* 
saults of mere freebooters were not likely to be destructive of the 
main body of the fabric. The demolition of so compact a hill of 
stone would, perhaps, be a work of more labour than even the 
raising of it; and appears, in fact, to have been seldom prac« 
tised. In many instances there are still remaining, almost en- 
tire, towers, and different parts of castles, evidently very ancient, 
which are stated in history to have been levelled with the ground. 
History speaks in general terms, and the labours of the topo- 
grapher had not commenced when the firebrand was placed to those 
castles. — When a fortress is said, by early writers, to have been 
destroyed, we are, probably, to understand no more than that 
the interior floorings, and other works formed of wood, were con- 
sumed by fire, and the fortifications dismantled.'^ 

It would be highly satisfactory if we could believe, without one 
remote scruple, that vestiges of castellated buildings, reared by 
the Britons in very early ages, are still in existence. But it is 
obvious that no demonstration can possibly be afforded, and that 
no date can securely be ascribed to a ruin, when its only claim 
on superior antiquity consists in such a peculiarity of style, as 
is irreconcilable even with the varieties of architecture ascer- 
tained to have occurred at any known period. f 


• For th« propriety of thi« remark, see Beauties for Bedforclshire, p. 6. 
We there find that when Bedford castle was besieged, in the reign of Henrj 
the Third, the miner* set fire to the Tower ; and when tlie smoke burst ont, 
and cracks appeared in the tower, the besieged surrendered. A castle which 
would appear from history to haTC been destroyed more than once, but the 
keep of which is still remaining, is noticed in tha Beauties for Northomber- 
land, p. 185. 

t For aa accoont ot several castles supposed to ekhibit marks of British 



When entering upon the subject of castles constructed in Bri- 
tain by the Saxon part of our ancestors, we descend to a period 
less involved in doubt; since- the Saxons (althougli borrowing 
many ideas from Roman works, and greatly profiting by the 
modes of British worlcmen) introduced a style of architecture 
which is intermingled wilh the discriminating marks of other 
fashions, only in the instance of those who succeeded them in 
an ascendancy over the Britons. 

But so much obscurity prevails in regard to the manners and 
the transactions of the early and unlettered Saxon ages, that 
it is difficult to ascertain the period at which castellated edi< 
fices were first raised in Britain by this people. It would, how- 
ever, appear to be certain that they constructed castles of stone 
during the division of this country into various small kingdoms. 
This is inferred by the complaint of Alfred, who lamented " that 
there were but few castles in England, before his time." The 
assertions of various writers of considerable antiquity might be 
adduced, in support of such an opinion. Matthew of Westmin- 
ster observes that Ida, king of Northumberland, built a castle at 
Bamborough, about the year of the Christian era 548; and Bede 
describes an assault made on a castle at the same place, between 
the years 64'3 and 655, by Penda, king of Mercia.* 

The authorities above quoted, joined to the high probability of 
the circumstance, will, perhaps, be deemed satisfactory; and it 
may be admitted that castles of stone were really built, for the 
united purposes of defence and regal splendour, in the slow pro- 
gress of the various Saxon states in Britain towards an hectar- 

R chy, 

architecture, see Beauties for Monraoutlisbire, p. 63 (White Ca$tle\)^.&fl 
(Scenfreth ;) and p. 71 (Grosmont.) 

• That castles were built in this country by the Saxons, before the year 
740, is evident from the words of Pope Boniface, who, in that year, com- 
plains to Archbishop Cuthbert, that the religious were compelled to perform 
servile oflices, in assistipg to build castlts. Spelman Concil. Tom. I. p. 237. ■ 


cliy, or oclarcliy. More difficulty is fouad m ascertaining vihi" 
(her any renutins of sach buildings now exist. We are here aa- 
ai<led by record, and must depend for data of calculation ots 
evidences of style, which are unfortunately few and preca- 

Amongst the criteria by which the most ancient castles of Eng- 
land are usually distinguitihed by antiquaries, may be noticed the 
fallowing.— Such buildings, whether square or round, are of 
limited dimen»ions ; and a want of refined art ia the science of de- 
fence is compensated by a very great thickness in the walls. Few 
k>ops are seen; and those not constructed in the accurate manner 
of the Anglo-Normans. Neither traces of the Portcullis, nor of 
Machicolations, occur in the original part of such structures^ 
and no wells (supposed to be intended for the purpose of drawing; 
up military machines) are found within the walls, although they 
are of so massy a character. 

In consideration of these, and other evrdeoees of great anti- 
quity, while marks of Saxon architecture are supposed to be 
apparent, Mr. King, in his curious work on the ancient mu- 
aitlons of this island, dees not hesitate to attribute several 
castles to an Angl^'^^^OQ ^i*^! previous to the consolidation 
of the different small kingdoms. The principal structures as- 
cribed by that writer to so remote an original, are the castles of 
Guildford; Castleton ; and Bamburgh ;* or rather the keeps 
those ancient buildings, since it is unquestionable that, in 
each instance, great additions have been made in succeeding 
«ges, and chiefly by the Normans, who are so conspicuous in 
the annals of the military architecture of Itrilain, for imparti»g 
security to their precarious tenure of the country by construct- 
ing strong holds, and improving such as they adopted. 

The keep of Guildford castle, [which is now almost the only 


• See these castles noticed in the Beauties for Surrey, p, ?55; for Detbv-. 
$} ire, p. 460 j and for Northumberland, p. 203. 


vemainiug part of that structure] is, perhaps, the most curious 
of the examples stated by Mr. King, and certainly displays the 
most dticided characteristics. It must be confessed that its ex- 
istence in the time of the Anglo-Saxon petty Kings, can be 
argued on the ground of conjectured internal evidence only ; 
but its antiquity is known to be very great, and is traced by 
historical testimony to the year 1035, at which time was per- 
formed here a lamentable tragedy, under the direction of Earl 
Godwin. This building has been described, in general terms, in 
the " Beauties" for Surrey ; where is, likewise, presented a 
summary of such parts of its history as have been preserved 
by writing. But, as it appears to afford a specimen of early 
Anglo-Saxon military architecture, it will scarcely be thought 
superfluous to state, in this place, its prevailing features, as no- 
ticed by an author, whose limits were less circumscribed than, 
those of the editor of the " Beauties" for Surrey. 

The keep tower of this presumed old Saxon palace stands on 
the brow of a steep hill, and appears to have been surrounded 
with a small inner court, the wall of which is not in any part 
more than 22 feet distant from the tower. The keep is of a 
square form, and the space within is only about 26 feet by 24. 
The walls are, in general, about ten feet in thickness j and, 
" very unlike those that are either Roman or Norman, are con- 
structed partly of squared chalk, partly of flint, and partly of 
sand-stone, cut in the form of Roman bricks; and in many parts 
placed in triple rows, alternately with rows of flints : in imita- 
tion of Roman work ; — but still more conspicuously placed in 
rows of herring-bone work.*— The internal corners of the apart- 

Ji 2 ments 

* By the Urm htn-ing-bone wnrk, as used in masonry, is understood courte* 
•f stones laid angalarly. The earliest period at which this mode was prac- 
tised is not correctly known ; but it is supposed to have been introduced by 
the Saxons. It is not, however, peculiar to buildings nscribed to the Anglo- 
Saxons. Instances of this practice in later ages are noticed by Mr. Essex, 
Archsulogia, Vol. IV. p. 101. — Where herring-bone work i* of btick, it ii 



ments within are finished, in some parts, merely with squared 
chalk. The external corners of the tower, and a space in the 
middle part of each front, five feet four inches wide, were cased 
■with squared stone, very mucli resembling casings of Caen stone, 
[in the same manner as appears in several other Saxon buildings.} 
— Some Roman bricks, or, perhaps, rather Saxon bricks, made in 
imitation of such as were Roman, are seen in the lower parts of 
the building, especially on the north side ; and some thin, evi- 
dently Saxon, bricks, appear in the windows, though tliey are 
now partly mixed with bricks of reparation since the time of 
Henry the Sixth ; — and though there appears, on the south side, 
an original Saxon window, altogether of stone, as if such was 
the construction of all the windows at first." 

The great portal of entrance appears to have been at a height 
not less than 10 feet from the ground; and the ascent was^ pro- 
bably, by a steep flight of steps on the outside. 

The interior was divided into three apartments, or stories, with 
a vault, or dungeon, beneath. 

The ground -floor was of a truly chearless character, and was 
solely adapted to security, without the roost remote attention to 
comfort of inhabitation. On three sides are arches, leading to 
small loops in the wall, at a great height, and having " exceed^- 
ing steep steps, but without any hanging arches for the stopping 
of missile weapons, as in the structure of Norman castles; and, 
except in these three parts, the walls are perfectly smooth and 
•ntire, so that it is evident there could be no communication with 
the room above, unless by some trap-door in the floor of timber ; 
nor could this room have any light or air, except from the small 

The supposed portal of entrance opened to the floor above ; 
and it is observable that there are here no traces of a portcullis, 
" such means of defence having not been invented when this cas- 


»-eI! described by Mr. Strutt [Manners and Customs, Vol. I.j as a row of flat 
bricks, set obliquelj from the right to the left, saccesded by an pbliqae row 
Irum the left to tlie light. 


tie was built." — On the right hand of this entrance, is a small 
and remarkable chamber in the wall, which is lighted by tw» 
very small loop windows. In this apartment are still to be seen 
feur seats, formed in the wall, and adorned with pillars, " having 
[in the opinion of Mr. King] truly Saxon capitals, and circular 
ernamental arches above." On the left hand of the great entrance 
is another doorway, which led to a small chamber, or closet ; and* 
at no great distance, is an arch leading by a passage on one side 
to a staircase, which went quite to the top of the tower, and was 
lighted by loops in the outer wall. Although the rooms into 
■which this floor was divided, must necessarily have been very 
small, it appears that the principal apartment was at least 20 
feet in height. 

In such lineatnents of the third floor as are still be discovered 
in the walls, appear four recesses, leading to four great windows, 
which command an extensive view of the surrounding country. 
Here is, also, found an arched doorway, leading to a small closet 
in the wall, in which are still evident two large machicolations,* 
hanging over the side of the castle, and which appear to be di- 
rectly over the door of the dungeon already secured with ^Ireadful 
care, and situated at a great depth beneath. The state apart- 
ment in this upper division of the fortress, must have been more 
than It') feet high; and it is remarkable that in this part of the 
building tlvere are not any remains of doorways leading to more 
than one closet, or small chamber, in the wall. 

Such are the remains of those parts of Guildford castle, which, 
from their style of architecture, have been attributed to the An- 
glo-Saxons. It is, however, probable that, even in the time of 
the earliest Anglo-Saxon possessors of this fortress, buildings of 
a less solid character, and possibly of wood, were constructed 
ia the area between the surrounding wall aiid the keep, for the 
) R. 3 accoinmo(latic<ii 

• It Is observed by Mr. King, in his " Sequel to the Observations on An- 
cieat Castles," that these raachicolations " were undoubtedly added in laticr 


accommodation of such attendants as their safety, if not their 
love of pomp, rendered necessary. 

The genius of the great Alfred impelled him to an improve- 
ment of the national architecture iu all its branches ; and his 
dangeroos struggles wit^h. the Danes caused him to bestow par« 
ticular attention on the increase in number and strength of forti- 
fied buildings. It is not, however, known that the keep of any 
castle raised during his reign, is now remaining. The noble 
augmentation of magnitude, and improved mode of mililary ar- 
chitecture, which he introduced, are mentioned by several early 
writers ; and King Edward the Elder, the warlike son and suc- 
cessor of Alfred, is stated to have formed numerous fortresses, in 
attention to the advice of his illustrious father."^ Relics of 
these are probably still to be seen in many places; but the alte- 
rations effected in subsequent ages have so far obliterated the 
traces of original character, that no instance remains as a satis- 
factory specimen of the style pursued in castellated structures 
erected under his direction, or that of his memorable sister, 
Ethelfleda, Queen of Mercia. 


• The principal of these, and the policy which iuduced their erection, are 
thus noticed in Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons : " As the Danes pos- 
sessed the north of England, from the Humber to the Tweed, and the eastern 
districts, from the Ouse to the sea, Edward protected his own frontiers by a 
line of fortresses. — The position of these fortresses demonstrates their utilitj.. 
Wigmore, in Herefordshire; Bridgnorth and Cherbury, in Shropshire ; Edes- 
bury, in Cheshire ; and Stafford and Wedesborough, in Staffordshire ; were 
well chosen to coerce the Welsh upon the western limits. Runcorne and Thel- 
wall, in Cheshire, and Bakewell, in Derbyshire, answered the double purpose 
of awing Wales, and of protecting that part of the north frontier of Mercia 
from the incursions of the Northumbrian Danes. Manchester, Tamworlh, in 
Staffordshire, Leicester, Nottingham, and Warwick, assisted to strengthen 
Mercia on this northern frontier ; and Stamford, Towcester, Bedford, Hart- 
ford, Colchester, Withara, and Maiden, presented a strong boundary of de- 
fence against the hostilities of the East Anglian Danes. The three last cities, 
placed in a country which Edward's power had extorted, watched three rivers, 
important for their affording an easy debaikation from foreign parts." — Hist, 
of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p. S36. 


Ib th* opinion of several antiquarian writers, we may, liow- 
«ver, look to the mutilated castle of Colchester, for an imper- 
fect example of fortresses raised in the time of Edward the 
Slder; and, certainly, many parts of this building are very 
unlike the usual manner of the Normans, although other divisions 
were undoubtedly erected by that people. 

The cantle of Cotckestir is built en an elevated spot, aud is 
<OBstructed iu the form of a parallelogram, of large dimensions.* 
Its walls [composed of stone, flint, and Roman bricks] are of a 
great thickness, and exhibit considerable traces of that style ^ 
aiasonry, which is termed herriug-bone work. The more atn 
•cient parts of this curious structure appear to have been ori- 
ginally lighted by loop-holes, which were constructed in a man- 
ner much less skilful than is observable in most castles of a later 

A deceased industrious and careful antiquary asserts that instances 
of the groitndtcork of Anglo-Saxon castles, constructed by Ed- 
ward the Elder, are slill plainly visible at Maiden and at Wit- 
ham, both in Essex. From the account of these, as presented 
in his work, it appears that the keep was placed on a slight arti- 
fHjial elevation, or low flat hill. The general form of the ground- 
work is round. The keep was encompassed by a thick wall ; and 
around the whole work was a deep broad ditch, and " a strong 
vallum nf earth, on which was built an exterior wall, turrettfd 
a^ler the Roman fashion. "f 

It is contended by some writers, that from Norwich castle, a 
building " raised in the eleventh century, by command of King 
Canute/'^ we are enabled to form the most just ideas of the 

R 4 castellated 

• For an accoont oftha present appearance of this structare, see Beauties 
for Essex, p. 308, et seq. j and for many critical remarks concernini; itspro- 
bable Anglo-Saxon original, see Archsologia, \ ol. IV. p. 406^-409. An en- , 
graved view of Colchester cas'le is presented in the Beauties fur Bssex. 

t Strutt's Manners and Cnstoms, Vol. I. p. 24— f3. In opposition to the 
above, it will he observed that, in the Beauties for Essex, the earthworks at 
llaldeu and at Withaiu are supposed to be reniaius of mere cncanipments. 

X For arguoMnis as to the j ropriety of ascribing the date of this huildii g 



castellated architecture of the Anglo-Saxons^ in its days of ma> 
ture splendour. Although this structure is said to have been 
raised under a sovereign of Danish extraction, it may be pre- 
sumed that he employed Anglo-Saxon architects ; and that he 
adopted Anglo-Saxon modes, if this building be indeed his, is 
sufEcieutly evident. 

Norwich castle is now used, with additions, as a gaol for the 
county in which it stands, and has lately undergone alterations 
injurious to its beauty and former architectural character. The 
keep, or great tower, is square, and is, in extent, 110 feet 
3 inches, by 92 feet 10 inches ; the height to the top of the 
battlements being rather more than 69 feet. This spacious 
building is placed on a natural elevation ; and, from the base- 
ment story npwards, consists of three stories. The exterior of 
the basement division is faced with rough flint, and is destitute 
of ornament. But from this story upwards, the outside is faced 
with stone, and adorned with somi-circular arciies, laboriously 
■worked, and, in the greater part, intended merely for the pur- 
pose of embellishment. On three sides were " very magnificent 
windows, at a great height, being on the floor where the prin- 
cipal and state-apartments were situated;"* which, together with 
the subordinate rooms, appear to have been numerous, and of 
large dimensions. 

In regard to the outworks, and other modes of defence used in 
this building, it is difficult to separate the traces of such as were 
formed by the presumed original builder, from those added in 
subsequent, Norman, ages. But, if we may trust to the guid- 
ance of a writer who has attentively examined the whole of the 
remains, the keep, or great tower of this castle, was surrounded 
by three wide ditches, of a circular form, each having on the 
inner side a wall of defence. According to the same antiquary, 


t« ihe reigu of Canute, and for a more exleuded description, see .\rchsologi^, 
VoL IV. ; ibid. Vol. XII. and Beauties for Norfolk, p. 1X1—128. ' 
• Arch»ol. Vol. IV. p- 401. 


the area of the whole castle, including the three ditches hy 
which it was circumscribed, could not contain less than 23 acres; 
and the principal entrance was approached by means of stone 
bridges, thrown over the Valiums, one of which [" probably the 
same that was originally built by the Anglo-Saxons"] still re» 

From the above limited remarks it is hoped that a general idea 
may be formed of the supposed state of military architecture in 
this country, and of its distinguishing characteristics, during the 
long and eventful sway of the Saxons. In presenting an alleged 
specimen of each most important era, it has been observed that no 
researches have hitherto succeeded in affixing a certain date to any 
conspicuous example of Anglo-Saxon fortification. But a re- 
ference to the arguments advanced in support of the appropri- 
ation which I have adopted, is appended to each instance, for a 
satisfaction of the reader; and, if he admit that those arguments 
are valid, he will from these few examples, and the less circum- 
scribed description of each, contained in the respective volumes 
of the Beauties of England, acquire an outline of intelligence 
¥rhich may, at least, act as a guide to local, or more particular, 

The subject of Anglo-Saxon architectural antiquities is, how- 
ever, involved in much perplexity. In the absence of positive 
dates, and generally unassisted even by useful historical hints 
towards intelligence, the antiquary has a field widely open to 
conjectural appropriation, which often seduces his fancy at the 
expense of his judgment, and betrays him into the labyrinth of 
untenable hypothesis. The shades of distinction between the 
known Anglo-Norman, and the presumed Anglo-Saxon styles, 
are so few and indefinite, that, most frequently, no conclusion 
can be drawn entirely satisfactory to the dispassionate enquirer. 

la this state of incertitude, many modern writers, intent on 


• Mr. Wiikini'i Essay towards a History »f Norwich castle, fcc Archoeot. 
Vol. XII. 


adopting the side of disputation most likely to be accredited, aA 
it evidently partakes least of boldness, and is calculated to save 
much trouble of enquiry and consideration, apply, without scru- 
ple, an Anglo- iVbmtan date to every building that appears to 
fluctuate between the received characteristics of the two styles, 
or which is, indeed, beyond the reach of record, although not 
analogous in its architectural character to any indubitable An- 
glo-Norman example. Such strains of decision are the fashions 
of antiquarianism ; and should be received with due caution, 
whether the temper of the period or of the writer, may lead to 
fanciful hypothesis on the one hand, or to a rejection of all that 
is not clearly demonstrable on the other. 

Military Earthworks of the Anglo-Saxons. — Al- 
thoDgh there is reason for believing that the Saxons, at no very 
advanced period of their ascendancy in this island, constructed 
castles of stone, it is unquestionable that many of those rude 
vestiges in the soil, which consist of embankments, ditches, and 
other marks of secure encampment, must be attributed to the 
same people. Such works, indeed, have been formed by every 
nation connected with the internal wars of this country ; by the 
Romans, as already noticed ; and not only by the Saxon*, Danes, 
and Normans, in succeeding ages of military contention, but by 
those engaged in the civil wars of ages less distant, involving the 
disastrous struggles of the seventeenth century. 

It will not be doubted but that each party, of whatever nation 
or interest, eagerly took advantage of the earth-works formed 
by previous armies, when circumstanceB favoured such an op- 
portunity ; zmd effected alterations suited to its own modes 
of warfare. Such innovations were frequently made by the 
Saxons ; and thence arises a confusion of features, in the ves- 
tiges of many temporary camps, which much perplexes, and 
sometimes misleads, the examiner. — As an usual criterion, it may 
be observed that such earthworks of the Anglo-Saxons as relate 
to the defensive outlines of encampments, are generally far from 



strong, and incline towards a circalar fonn, where no natural 
circumstances promised a fortuitous advantage by the use of a. 
difierent and indeterminate shape. But such circumstances fre- 
quently occurred ; and a great irregularity of outward lines is 
observable in many camps ascribed to this people. 

An account of a distinguished specimen of earthworks, apper- 
taining to an Anglo-Saxon encampment, may convey a more 
distinct idea of the general character of such vestiges, than an 
endeavour to detail their ordinary features by more difi'use re- 
marks, not founded on a particular point of observation. The 
remains of encampment to which I direct the notice of the 
reader, are situated at Eaton, in Bedfordshire, and are thas 
described by the pen of a curious investigator : " The form of 
the camp, though very irregular, approaches somewhat to that of 
a semicircle, having the river Ouse for its diameter. It is ou 
all sides, except on this diametrical side next the river, sur- 
rounded by two complete ditches : the outermost fosse being 
more perfect than usual, and the innermost exceeding deep. 
And there being a pretty broad plain level space between the 
two; higher than the adjacent country. Whilst, within the in- 
nermost fosse, not only the interior vallum, but also the whole 
space of ground, rises higlier still ; quite contrary to the ap- 
pearance of any Roman camps : and, not far from the middle, 
rather approaching towards the south-east corner, next the river, 
is a sort of mount, raised considerably above all the rest, which 
commands th© whole adjacent level country. There are not four 
entrances, as in Roman camps ; but one only ; and that narrow, 
and passing straight forward over both ditches en the west side, 
opposite to the river.''* 

It will not be supposed that each of these marks of distinction 
is peculiar to the whole of the vestiges of Saxon encampment 
remaining in England. Such remains are, indeed, destitute of 


• Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. III. p. 26.5.— Inland nA Camden eneneoulj 

terra tLcie earthworks llie vesiJgM of o cosJ/«. 


any unequivocal characteristics, unless [to use the words of the . 
author quoted above] it be " their having only one entrance, and 
that they are neither so strongly situated, nor so well protected, 
as the hill fortresses of the Britons ; nor so uniform in their 
figure, or regular in the construction of their works, as those 
of the Romans." To which it may be added, that double in- 
trenchments frequently occur in encampments attributed to the 
Anglo-Saxons, with a satisfactory air of probability. 

On the Ecclesiastical Architecture of the Anglo- 
Saxons.* — So indistinct were the perceptions of those writers 
who first cultivated the science of architectural antiquities in 
this country, that it was, through several successions of authors, 
received as a sage and tenable opinion, that the churches of the 
Anglo-Saxons were low mean buildings, usually composed of 

timber ; 

* Investigations concerning the history aud obaracteristics of the difierent 
ancient styles of ecclesiastical architecture observable iu this island, are fre- 
quently much perplexed by a want of definite terms, uniformly received as 
expressing the respective modes prevailing at distinct eras. The absurd term 
of Gothic, is by many writers applied to all styles of architeeture anciently 
adopted in Britain, except the Grecian. That term is, however, chiefly used 
in regard to the pointed style ; and will, therefore, meet with a more extend- 
ed enquiry, and a mure decisive mark of reprobation, in a future page. 

In respect to the subject of the present section, much confusion has been 
caused, by a neglect of precision in several writers, who have applied the 
term " Saxon," to all classes of chnrch-architecture in England and Wales, 
contradistinguished from the pointed style, by circular headed windows and 
doorways. With such writers, the buildings of the Anglo-Normans are 
" Saxon," because they partake of the leading characteristics of that styU 
which prevailed in England for many ages antecedent to the Norman Con- 
quest. The attainment of knowledge is greatly retarded by this neglect of 
classification. In the present work, the term of Anglo- Saxon applies, exclu- 
sively, to buildings erected in this island, by the Saxons, whilst possessed of 
sovereign power. It, therefore, comprehends all edifices constructed between 
the conversion of the Saxons, A. D. 697, and the Norman conquest, A. D. 
1066 ; wiih an exception of the short intervening reigns sf the three Angl«- 
Danish Kings. 


timber; and that, if, in rare instances, they were formed of 
stone, they, still, were destitute of columns and arches: th« 
stone-work consisting merely of upright walls. 

Such an opinion has been long discarded ; but, as it stands 
copied in many writers of a high name [and of deserved repute, 
in regard to the discussion of other subjects] the origin of this 
mistaken view of Anglo-Saxon architecture, and the decisive ar- 
guments of those by whom it was corrected, demand an analysis 
in the present pages. 

These erroneous notions appear to have originated with Mr. 
Somner, who, in his work on the Antiquities of Canterbury,* 
presumes that, " before the Norman advent, most of our monaste- 
ries and church-buildings were of wood/' The authorities 
which he gives for such a presumption, are, a certain charter of 
King Edgar, granted about the year 974; and the writings of 
the well-meaning, but comparatively modern historian. Stow. 

The charter of King Edgar relates to the abbey of Malmsbury ; 
and, in that instrument, the King uses words which may be thus 
translated : " The sacred monasteries of my realm, to the sight 
are nothing bat worm-eaten, and rotten, timber and boards." 

The intelligence which Stow afforded to Mr. Somner, chiefly 
regards the rebuilding of the cathedral church of St. Paul, after 
the fire of 1087. According to Stow, " Mauritius, then bishop, 
began, therefore, the new foundation of a new church of St. 
Paul ; a work that men of that tinie judged would never have 
been finished, it was to them so wonderful for length and breadth ; 
as, also, the same was builded upon arches (or vaults) of stone, 
for defence of fire ; which was a manner of work before that 
time unknown to the people of this nation, and then brought 
from the French ; and the stone was fetched from Caen, in Nor- 
mandy." Stow, also, instances the church of St. Mary Bow, in 
London, " built much about the same time and manner ; that is, on 
arches of stone; and was, therefore, called New Mary church, 


• Antiquities of Canterbury, p. 86. 


or St. Mary-Ie-Bow ; as Stratford Bridge being the first biiilt 
vith arches of stone, was therefore called Stratford-le'Bow/^ 

Mr. Somner, contented with the authority of this recent ekro> 
nicler, asserts, that " this, doubtless, is that new kind of archi- 
tecture which the continuer of Bede (whose words Malmesbuty 
hath taken up) iatends, where, speakinij^ of the Noraans' in- 
come, he saith, " You may observe every where, in villages 
churches, and in cities and villages, monasteries, erected witk » 
new kind of architecture." 

The same writer on antiquities presents a confirmation of his 
opinion, when treating of the age of the eastern part of the 
choir of Canterbury cathedral, by saying, " that he dares con- 
stantly, and confidently, deny it to be elder than the Norman 
conquest; because of the building it upon arches, a form of 
architectnre, though in use with, and among, the Romans long 
before, yet, after their departure, not used here in England tiU 
the Normans brought it over with them from France.'^ 

Such are the passages which appear to have influenced Mr. 
Staveley,* Mr. T. Warton,f and the author of " Ornaments of 
Churches con<>idered ;** together with several writers of less po- 
pularity and importance. 

The merit of first correcting so great an error in the history of 
architectnre, belongs to the Rev. J. Bentham, who \e\-y ably 
discusses this subject, in the celebrated fifth section of his His* 
tory of the Cathedral Church of Ely. The following observa- 
tions comprise the point of his arguments, together with some 
corroborative remaVks by more recent authors. 

The disputable passage, noticed above, as occurring in one 
of the charters of King Edgar, is supposed by Mr. Bentham 
" to mean no more than that the churches, and monasteries, 
were, in general, so much decayed, that the roofs were unco^ 
vered, or bare, to the tii^er; and the beams rotted by neglect 


• StaTelej's History of Cliurcbes im England. 

* Obserfatioot on the Fairjr Queea of Spenser. 


and grown over with rooss ; and not that they were made wholly 
of wood/'* 

It is, however, clear, from the writings of Venerable Bede, 
and is not denied by any modera author, that many churches 
were constructed by the Anglo-Saxons, of oaken planks, or 
^vea of wattles, thatched with reeds. Such buildings were 
sometimes raised in haste, and were afterwards taken down to 
give place to more substantial edifices, or were included in thoM 
aore permanent structures ; as in the instance of a chapel, •n 
the site of the present church of St. Peter, at York ; which 
chapel, or oratory, was hastily built of wood, for the purpose 
of baptizing Edwin, King of Northumberland, in the year 627. 
But it may be readily apprehended that, in every early age, 
when society was thinly -spread, and the resources upon which 
ecclesiastical architecture depended, proceeded chiefly from the 
bounty of individuals, many churclies, not designed for a tem- 
porary purpose, would be composed of materials so ordinary 
^nd cheap. Several such are noticed by ancient writers; and 
it may be observed that a church, thus rudely formed, although 
the date of its erection be unknown, is still remaining at Greeu- 
sted, near Ougar, in Essex. f 

But that churches built of stone were contemporary with fa- 
brics so rude and slight, is sufficiently evinced by authentic 
history. In regard to the opportunities which the Anglo- 
Saxons possessed of acquiring some knowledge in the art of ar- 
chitecture, even in the earliest stage of their supremacy in this 
island, it is remarked by Mr. Bentbam, " that, at the time the 
Saxons were converted, the art of constructing arches and vault- 
ings, and of supporting stone edifices by columns, was well 
known among them ; they had many iiTstanceit of such kind of 
buildings before them, in the churches and other public edifices 
greeted in the times of the Romans. For, notwithstanding the 


* History of the Cathedral Chorch of Ely, p. 16. 
+ See Beauties for Essex, p. 425. A view of this building is presented in 
Vetusta Monumenta, Vol. II. plaie 7. 


havoc that had been made of the Christian churches by the Picfs 
and Scots, and by the Saxons themselves, some of them were 
then in being. Bede mentions two in the city of Canterbury : 
that dedicated to St. Martin, on the east side of the city, wherein 
Queen Bertha performed her devotions, and which Augustin and 
his companions made use of at their first coming; and the other, 
that which the king, after his conversion, gave to Augustin, and 
which he repaired and dedicated to our blessed Saviour, and made 
it his archiepiscopal see. Besides these two ancient Roman 
churches, it is likely there were others of the same age, in dif- 
ferent parts of the kingdom, which were then repaired and r«- 
stored to their former use."* 

There is cause for supposing that several of the principal 
churches erected shortly after the conversion of Ethelbert, A. D. 
561, were constructed of stone. Such a supposition, however, 
rests for credibility on an inference deduced from the words of 
Bede (the sole ancient and real authority,) rather than on those 
words themselves. In treating of the buildings of an age shortly 
subsequent, that venerable historian is more explicit; and in- 
forms us, that the church of St. Peter's, at York, which in- 
cluded the wooden chapel before-noticed, was a spacious and mag* 
oificent fabric, " of stone." This first stone church at York, 
was erected shortly after the baptism of King Edwin, in the 
year 627. 

Other churches, built in, or near, the time of Bede, are, like- 
wise, expressly stated by him to have been built of stone. The 
structure concerning which he writes most fully, is the church 
of St. Peter, in the monastery of Wearmouth ; the spot on which 
he was educated, and near which he passed the whole of a life, 
saintly in the esteem of his contemporaries, and truly useful in 
the regard of posterity. " This church was built by the famous 
Benedict Biscopius. In the year 675, this abbat went over into 
France, to engage workmen to build his church after the Roman 


• History of Ely Cathedrab p. 17—1 8- 


manner (as it is there called,} and brought them over with him 
for that purpose. He prosecuted this work with extraordinary- 
zeal and diligence ; insomuch that, within the compass of a year 
after the foundations were laid, he caused the roof to be put on, 
and divine service to be performed in it. Afterwards, when the 
building was nearly finished, he sent over to France for arti« 
ficers skilled in the mystery of making glass [an art till that time 
unknown to the inhabitants of Britain,] to glaze the windows 
both of the porticos and the principal parts of the church ; which 
work they not only executed, but taught the English nation that 
most useful art"* 

We do not entirely rest for historical intelligence, concerning 
churches of stone built by the Anglo-Saxons, on the venerable 
Bede; and it is observable, that, in another author, equally en- 
titled to credit, both pillars and arches are expressly mentioned. 
Eddius, the contemporary of Bede, and the biographer of Wil- 
frid, bishop of York, mentions the conventual church of Rippon, 
in Yorkshire, and the cathedral church of Hexham, in Nor- 
thumberland, as foundations of the bishop whose life he nar- 

The church of Hexham is described as being one of the most 
magnificent fabrics of the age in which it was erected; as a build- 
ing, indeed, that " was not to be paralleled on this side the 
Alps." It was founded in the year 674 ; and Eddius mentions 
" its deepness in the ground, with rooms founded of stones, ad- 
mirably polished; but having, above ground, one room of many 
parts, supported on various columns, and on many underground 
chapels; yet possessing a wonderful length and height of walls; 

S and^ 

♦ History of Ely Cathedral, p. 20— 21.— Tlie introduction oi Ciau atthi* 
period, a« noliced in the above excerpt, will not escape the notice of tl>e 
reader. Before the erection of this church, under the direction of Benedict, 
the windows of the most cosUy buildings were filled with " fine linen clotb, or 
latticed wood work." Turner's Hist, of the Anglo Saxons, Vol. II. p. 416. 
Malmsb. 149. 


and, by various passages winding in lines, carried along spiral 
stairs, sometimes up, sometimes down."* 

This church is more especially curious, and deserving of notice, 
as it afforded a subject of remark to an Anglo-Norman writer, 
"who flourished about one century after the conqqest, and iu 
whose time the building was still remaining, although in a de- 
caying state. Richard, prior of Hexham, the Anglo-Norman 
to whom I allude, after mentioning the " crypte, and oratories 
subterraneous, with winding passages to them," informs us "that 
the walls were of immense length and height, supported on 
columns of squared, varied, well-polished stones, and divided 
into three stories." He adds, " that the walls themselves, witl*. 
the capitals of those columns by which the walls were supported, 
as, also, the coved ceiling of the sanctuary, Wilfrid decorated 
with histories, statues, and various figures, projecting in sculp- 
ture from the stone, with the grateful variety of pictures, and 
with the wonderful beauty of colonrs. He, also, surrounded the 
very body of the church with chapels lateral and subterraneous^ 
on every side; which, with wonderful and inexplicable artifice, 
he separated, by walls and spiral stairs, above and below. Iu 
the very stairs, and upon tliem, he caused to be made of stone, 
ways of ascent, places of landing, and a variety of wiudiugs^ 
some up, some down; yet, so artificially, that an innumerable 
multitude of men might be there, and stand all about the very 
body of the church, yet not be visible to any that were below 
in it."t 

In a commentary on the above excerpt, Mr. Whitaker remarks, 
that this delineation of an Anglo-Saxon church, "reminds us 


• Eddiiis, c. xxii. as irauslHted in VVhitaker's Callicdral History of Corn- 
wall, Vol. I. p. 1 14. The passage is di/Ferenily, but, as it miuld appear, 
less faithfully rendered by Mr. Benthara, p. 21—22, of the History of Ely 

+ Ilichardi Prioris Hagvst. lib. 1 ; — as translated by Mr. \Vhit.)ker, CaiEe- 
Aral Ulslorj ol Cornwall, Vol. I. p. 116—117. 


Strongly of the subterraneous crypts, with oratories in them, of 
our late cathedral of St. Paul's, with Jesus chapel and St. Faith's 
church in ' the crowds,' under it; or of our present cathedral of 
Canterbury, with its ' under-crofl,' and Walloon church, be- 

Many other instances of churches known to have been built of 
stone by the Anglo-Saxons, might be adduced, on the testimony 
of ancient writers, who had an opportunity of examining such 
fabrics. Those noticed above are sufficient to establish the fact 
of that people having constructed sacred edifices composed of 
stone; a circumstance which indolence in research, alone, could 
Jiave suffered any author to place in a questionable point of 

It may, however, be proper to state, in attention to the re- 
mark of Mr. Bentham, that "one of the most complete Saxon 
churches, of which we have any authentic information, is that of 
St. Peter, in York, as it was rebuilt about the middle of the 8th 
century," in consequence of au injury which the former structure 
experienced, from accidental fire, in the year 741. The church, 
as then restored by Albert, arciibishop of York, is curiously 
described by the learned Alcuin, who was one of the principal 
architects employed in that work. " From his description," 
writes Mr. Bentham, " in which the principal members and re- 
quisites of a complete and finished edifice are expressed, pillars, 
arches, vaulted roofs, windows, porticos, galleries, and variety 
of altars, with their proper ornaments and decorations, the reader 
will, in some measure, be able to form a judgment of the whole; 
and be apt to conclude that architecture was carried, in that age, 
to some considerable degree of perfection."t 

S 2 We 

* Cathedral History of Cornwall, Vol. 1. p. 119. 
f Benlham's Ely, p. «5 — 26. In the same place ii presented an extract 
of Alcuiii's poem, De Fontificilnit et tanclis EccUsiic Ebor. published by Dr. 
Gale, ill 1691. The descriptive lines are thus translated, iu the fourth 
rolume of King's Munimenta Autiqua, p. 164. 


We are sanctionsd^ by the concurrent opinions of many judi- 
cious writers, in believing that cliurcli architecture flourished in 
its greatest lustre, amongst the Anglo-Saxons, at the latter pari 
of the seventh century, when it was zealously patronized by Wil- 
frid, archbishop of York. Many monasteries were founded, and 
ciiurches erected, in ages shortly succeeding; but, in the ninth 
century, the incursions of the Danes not only suspended the pro- 
gress of architectural improvement, but caused the destruction 
of numerous ediBces, reared in times of national prosperity, and 
calculated for a long duration, if left free from human assault. 

The great Alfred, like a good genius sent to console suffering 
humanity, arose amidst this storm of frightful contention; and 
endeavoured to restore men to their duty and to themselves, by 
reviving a veneration for religious observances, and by encou- 
raging literature and the arts. But the continual public trou- 
bles of his reign, unhappily debarred him from bestowing largely 
those inspiriting beams of patronage on ecclesiastical architecture 
to which he was, unquestionably, well-inclined. It is, however, 
stated that " lie encouraged the repairing of churches, founded 
two monasteries, and restored some others." 

The reigns shortly succeeding that of Alfred, were, like hi» 
own, of too troubled a complexion to allow of a deliberate atten- 
tionto religious buildings. 


In this great Prelate's time, this Church of fame, 

A finished, consecrated pile became ; 

Bj hira alone, begun, completed, blest : 

Where, bj high Arches, mighty- Columns prest. 

And glitt'ring roofs, of well-«rought timber form'd. 

And Windows fair, with nicest art adurn'd. 

Render the whole both awful, and sublime. 

And long to be admir'd in future time. 

Full many Porticos surrounding all ; 

Where the sun's rays in all directions fall ; 

And thirty Altars, each adom'd with art, 

04*« lustre to the wbole,'and every part. * ' '•' 


Edgar possessed the throne in an age more settled, and favour- 
able to the cultivation of sacred and ornamental architecture. 
His opportunities were chiefly eraploj'ed in the indulgence of 
personal pomp, and gaudy parade;* but the influence of arch- 
bishop Dunstan, and the consequent prevalence of Benedictine 
institutions, were, certainly, productive of a memorable atten- 
tion to the advancement of the architectural art. Several monas- 
teries were now founded ; and many, which had been destroyed 
er injured, by the Danes, were refounded or repaired. 

Mr. Bentham, in treating of ecclesiastical buildings erected 
in the reign of Kdgar, observes that, by the accounts which we 
have of his monastic foundations and repairs, " it appears that 
some new improvements in architecture had lately been made, or 
were, about that time, introduced."t 

A discussion concerning the probable nature of these improve- 
ments, occupies many pages in the works of several writers on 
the subject of our ancient architecture. 

It is less to be regretted that the limits of the present under- 
taking prevent a minute examination of the arguments of these 
various writers, as the object of their enquiries is but in a faint 
degree connected with such supposed vestiges of the Anglo- 
Saxons as demand primary attention. Mr. Bentham imagines 
those improvements in architecture which are referable to the 
time of Edgar, or years shortly previous, to consist in the cru- 
ciform mode of ground-plan, with high towers raised above the 
roof. In support of this conjecture, he affirms that, in such de- 
scriptive accounts as we have remaining, of the more ancient 
Saxon churches, " not a word occurs by which it can be inferred 
that they had either cross buildings, or high tJ)wers ; but, as far 
as we can judge, were mostly square, j or rather oblong, build- 

S 3 ings; 

• See Turner's Hist, of the AnfeloSaxons, Vol. I. p. 403. 

f History of Ely Cathedral, p. 128. 

+ " St. Peter's at York, begun by King Edwin, A. D. Gi7, is particularly 
reported by Bede to have been of llwl fortn." Beda Hisi. Eccl. lib. it. 
cap. 14. 


ings; and generally turaed circular at the east end;* in form, 
nearly, if not exactly, resembling the basilica, or courts of 
justice, in great cities throughout the Roman empire."t Such, 
Mr. Bentham conceives, was the general form of our oldest Saxon 

This opinion, as to the late period at which the cruciform plan 
of building was introduced amongst the Anglo-Saxons, is warmly 
controverted by several very respectable writers. Mr. Whitaker 
opposes to it the description presented by Eadmer, of " that 
church which the Romaus built, within the city of Canterbury, 
and which, afterwards, became the cathedral of all England, 
under the Saxons." :|: The descriptive statement of Eadmer [as 
copied by GervaseJ does, indeed, appear to imply that this very 
ancient metropolitical church, possessed north and south tran- 
septs, each being surmounted by a tower. 

Dr. Milner § unites with Mr. Whitaker, in opposing the above 
opinion of the historian of Ely cathedral ; and observes, that 
" it would, certainly, be strange if that form which had been 
adopted in the east, in Italy, and in France,j| during so many 
prior ages, should not have made its way into England, during 
four hundred years after its conversion." This writer adduces a 
fresh instance of the use of transepts in English churches, at a 


* *' An ancient chnrch at Abbendon, built about the year 675, by Heane, 
the first Abbot of that place, was an oblong building, ISO feet in length ; 
and, what is singular, was of a circular form on the west, as well as on the 
east." Monast. Angl. Vol. I. p. 98. 

+ Hist, of the Cathedral church of Ely, p. 29. 

X Cathedral History of Cornwall, Vol. II. chap. vi. sect, ii ; where see 
the original passage, of Gervase from Eadmer. 

§ Treatise on the Ecclesiastical Architecture of England daring the Mid* 
die ages, p. 31 — 33. 

II See argunieuts respecting these positions, in the notes to Dr. Milner't 
Treatise, p. 32. Some remarks on the same subject, are, also, presented in 
Mr. Whittingten's Historical Survey of the Ecclesiastical Antiquitiesof France, 
Chap. 1. 


ranch earlier period than is noticed by M r. Bentham ; and one 
that is of greater weight than the example given above, as the 
building was erected under the direction of an Anglo-Saxon pre- 
late. This is the church of St, Mary, at Hexham, which was 
built by St. Wilfrid, in the seventh century. Richard, prior of 
Hexham, describes the above church, "as being furnished with 
a tower, of a round or cupola form, from which four porticos, or 
aisles, proceeded.'* 

The second novelty [that of high towers, raised above lh« 
roof] which Mr. Beuthani supposes to have been introduced 
about the time of King Edgar, is partly implicated iu the fore- 
going remarks; but, as the subject is curious, and involves par- 
ticulars, interesting in regard to the churches of every pei'iod, 
it demands some further observation. — It is mentioned by Mr. 
Bentham, as being " highly probable," that the use of bells 
gave occasion to the iutroduction of church lowers; and such we 
may readily suppose to have been the fact. Speedily found to 
be appendages elegant as well as useful, they were, however, 
multiplied in the same building, for the purposes of symmetry 
and ornament. From the extracts and references presented 
above, it is probable that the reader will accord with those who 
oppugn the conjectural opinion of Mr. Bentham, respecting 
dates ; and will believe that towers, the great ornaments of sa 
many existing churches, were adopted by the Anglo-Saxons 
shortly after their conversion.* 

8 4 It 

* Tbe history of Beils, as ased in collecting a cougregatioii to Divine ter- 
vice, is involved in some obscurity. Mr. Wliitaker, iu the section and chap- 
ter already quoted, displays great learning in shewing that t>ells were in fre- 
quent use among the Romans ; and were, probably, introduced by them to 
the Britons, during their sway over this island. I'heir first adaptation to the 
uses uf the Anglo-Saxon church, is not su clearly tu be ascertained, I'rom writ- 
ten testimony. Dr. Milner (Ecclesiastical Architecture of the Middle ages, 
p. 3i,) observes "that the use of small bells (nolo) in this country, if we 
may credit Williatn of Malmsbury. may be traced ai hi^h b> tbe fifth century. 



It is mentioned by Mr. Turner, as a circumstance not to be 
doubted, " that the Anglo-Saxons had some sort of architecture 
in use before they invaded Britain. The temple which Char- 
lemagne destroyed at Eresberg, in the eighth century, is described 
in terms which imply at least greatness.*'* But that they were 
indebted to Rome, for that mode of building with stone, which 
forms the object of the present enquiry, would appear to be 
^tisfactorily ascertained. 

It will be recollected that the art of architecture, in Rome, 
is generally allowed to have been cultivated with the greatest suc- 
cess during the reign of Augustus^ from which period it sank to 
decline, amidst a meretricious profusion of ornament; and hastily 
fell into utter degradation. Mr. Whittingtou observes that the 
" Palace of Dioclesian, at Spalatro, affords a striking proof of 
the debasement of the art, at the end of the third century ; in- 
deed, in many parts of that vast and costly structure, are to be 
discovered the first traces of that barbarous style of building, 
which is now known to us by the names of Lombard and Saxon."f 

In this degraded state of the architectural art, the noblest 
ancient structures of Rome were considered merely as a fund of 
materials for the use of new buildings. Columns, architraves, 
and the various ornamental parts of ancirnt and truly elegant 
edifices, were now employed in such fresh erections, with an en- 
tire disregard of symmetry, and even of common architectural 
laws. Columns were often furnished with capitals and bases of 
dissimilar orders; and any deficiencies of ornament were supplied 
by the crude fancies of the new builders ; who may be termed 
masons, rather than architects. Several instances of churches 


Ks\i\ it is clear from Bedc, tliat even those of the larger kind (campana) ^cli 
;i$ sounded in the air, and called a numerous congregation to Divine service, 
were employed in England as earl^ as the year 680, being that in which the 
^|}bess Hilda died." 

♦ Hist, of the Anglo Saxons, Vol. II. p. 411. 

''' ^pclesiastical Anti^pi^ies of France, p. 2, and Ap|iendix. 


at RomCj constructed in this barbarous manner, are specified in 
the works mentioned below.* 

An imitation of this debased Roman style, appears to have 
prevailed in the early churches of every other Cliristian country 
of Europe. The opportunities which the Anglo-Saxons pos- 
sessed of imitating the Romans in architectural fashion, are suffi- 
ciently obvious. Independant of examples possibly afforded by 
buildino^s still remaining in Britain, they were directed and as- 
sisted by those missionaries from Rome, who repaired to tins is- 
land in the seventh century;! and their subsequent intercourse 
with that city, upon ecclesiastical affairs, enabled them to ac- 
quire an intimate knowledge of the modes used by the Romans 
in constructing sacred edifices. 

In regard to the fact of the derivation of the Anglo-Saxon 
style from the Romans, Dr. Milner affords the following obser- 
vation: "The well-known Saxon mouldings, the chevron, or 
zig-zag ; the billet; the cable; the embattled fret; the lozenge; 
the corbel table; and a variety of such other ornaments, as are 
supposed to be peculiar to Saxon architecture, will be found, on 
close examination, to have had their architypes in some or other 
of the buildings, medals, tessellated pavements, or sepulchres, 
of Italy, before they were adopted by our ancestors." J 

Whilst admitting that the Airglo-Saxon style was formed on 
an imitation of the methods prevailing in Rome, we must not, 
however, forget that in these, as well as in future ages, the 
architects of our most splendid sacred structures are to be found 
in native ecclesiastics. 


..* For a compendious review of the incongrnoas and tasteless moiles nhich 
marked the architecture of Rome, in its debased state, see Whittiiigton's Ec- 
clesiastical Antiquities of France; and Hawkins (HiA. of the origin of Gothic 
architecture) after Ciampini, Vetera Monimeiita, Vol. 1. &c. 

4 See Milner's Ecclesiastical Architecture of the Middle ages, p. 21. 
(after Bede, 1. ii. c 14.) 

t Ecclesiastical Architecture of the Middle tige?, p. 26 — 27, Exanples 
sreprcsented in a note on the latter page. 


Some general ideas respecting the form, and divisions, of the 
principal cathedral and conventual churches of the Anglo-Saxons, 
may be obtained from the collated remarks presented in previous 
pages. Ideas of the same general kind may, likewise, easily 
be conveyed, in regard to the character of that style of architect 
which is denominated Anglo-Saxon; but, we shall find, that it 
is more difficult to assign to the same mode its shades of distinc- 
tion from that which was afterwards used by the Anglo-Normans. 

The subjoined extract of the History of Ely Cathedral, may 
not be unacceptable, as it concisely recapitulates the form and 
component parts of an Anglo-Saxon church, while it affords some 
hints concerning the decisive marks of that style of architecture 
which is tlje subject of our enquiry : — " The general plan and dis- 
position of all the principal parts, in the latter Saxon and earliest 
Norman churches, was the same: the chief entrance was at the 
west end into the nave ; at the upper end of that was a cross, 
with the arms of it extending north and south, and the head (in 
which was the choir) towards the east, ending usually in a semi- 
circular form : and, in the centre of the cross, was a lower ; ano- 
ther was frequently added (and sometimes two, for the sake of 
ornament, or symmetry,) to contain the bells; the nave, and 
often the whole building, was encompassed with inner porticos; 
the pillars were round, square, or angular, and very strong and 
massive; the arches and heads of the doors and windows were 
all of them circular/'* 

It is sufficiently ascertained, from the necessary accordance of 
the architecture of the Anglo-Saxons with that of the other Chris- 
tian countries of Europe, as being derived from the same common 
source of imitation (the debased Roman) that the heavy circular 
mode, above noticed, was its leading characteristic. If additional 
proofs be required, they may be found in the representations of 
churches presented on coins, and in the illuminations of manuscripts. 
The following more minute particulars are collected from writers, 


♦ Hist, of Ely Cathedral, p. 32. 


who argae from existing buildings, attributed by themselves to our 
Saxoa progenitors ; and it is probable that these may be safely 
admitted as characteristical features, even though the struc- 
tures, whence the inferences are drawn, should be of a later date; 
as it is generally agreed that the £rst ecclesiastical buildings of 
the Anglo-Normans were erected with few deviations, as to ar- 
chitectural fashion, from those of their Saxon precursors. 

Arguing upon such examples, it appears, that, from the thick- 
ness of their walls, which rendered such aids unnecessary, the 
Anglo-Saxon buildings were constructed without buttresses. The 
windows were comparatively small, and without mullions. The 
columns possessed a studied variety ; aud the same intentional 
want of uniformity is observable in more minute ornaments.^ 

Many of their arches, occupying conspicuous situations, (and 
particularly those at the west end of churches) were elaborately 
embellished, in a rude but impressive style. Such ornaments as 
are of most frequent occurrence on supposed Anglo-Saxon arches, 
are thus noticed by Mr. Bentham: — "the chevron work, or 
zig-zag moulding, the most common of any ; the embattled frette, 
a kind of ornament formed by a single round moulding, traversing 
the face of the arch, making its returns and crossings always at 
right angles, so forming the intermediate spaces into squares, 
alternately open above and below j the triangular frelte, where 
the same kind of moulding at every return forms the side of an 
equilateral triangle, and, consequently, encloses the intermedi- 
ate spaces in that figure ; the nail-head, resembling the heads of 
great nails, driven in at regular distauces.^f 

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that, in this " order of 
architecture," we must not look for niches and tabernacles; as 
the Anglo-Saxons, assuredly, did not introduce statues, as orna- 


* It is possible that the fondness for variety, observable in wlint has been 
termed the '• Anglo-Saxon order of architecture," proceeded from an absurd 
imitation of those churches at Rome, which were composed ot dissimilar por- 
tions of more ancient structures. 

+ Hist, of Ely Cathedral, p. 34—35. 


ments to the outer part of their sacred buildings. It is^ howeyer, 
believed that the capitals of their columns often comprised rude 
representations of the human, and other natural forms; and that 
the portals of their churches \vere frequently ornamented with 
pieces of carving, in bas-relief. 

But the most industrious antiquary treads upon uncertain ground, 
vhen investigating this subject, with a view of making direct 
applications, and drawing determinate inferences. Although 
many churches are popularly attributed to an Anglo-Saxon era; 
and are fairly open to enquiry and conjecture, from tlie evidence 
of their great antiquity, and the absence of all contradictory 
record; it is still to be regretted that there is not any remaining 
ecclesiastical building, which can be ascribed to the Anglo- 
Saxons, upon clear and decisive authority. 

It must necessarily be believed that few religious edifices, 
built previously to the conquest, are now in existence. The 
Normans evidently possessed grander views than that race of 
monarchs which they supplanted. Whether superior piety, or 
the indulgence of more magnificent notions, might be the cause, 
it is certain that they either entirely rebuilt, or greatly improved, 
the wholeof our Cathedral, and the principal conventual churches, 
within a century after they obtained domination over the island. 

Thus, an entire specimen of Anglo-Saxon sacred architecture 
must be sought in the remote village, where the Saxon Thane 
was allowed to retain possession, or where the estate formed part 
of the numerous domains of a Norman lord, who fixed his resi- 
dence on some more favoured spot. But the busy hand of Nor- 
man improvement penetrated very obscure recesses. That spirit 
which induced the Anglo-Norman prelates to rebuild the more 
important churches, led to an emulation amoTig the nobles of the 
new dynasty. They appear to have taken a pious pride, in dis- 
playing a comparative grandeur of ecclesiastical architecture, 
throughout their respective domains; thus attesting, in a lauda- 
ble manner, their superiority in art, taste, and resources, over 
the 6u))dued Saxons. Malmsbury, who lived iu the twelfth 



century, observes [as vas parti} noticed in a previous page] 
that the erection of churches, by the Normans, shortly after 
their arrival, was not confined to cities and towns, but prevailed 
in villages. The same information is, also, conveyed by other 
ancient writers. 

It is, certainly, far from improbable that some few churches, 
constructed by the Anglo-Saxons in recluse situations, may still 
be in existence. We have seen that their style of building was 
frequently calculated for duration ; and we know that some small 
churches, which must have been erected by the Normans at an 
eariy period of their ascendancy, [if, indeed, they be not of a 
higher date] are now remaining, and free from any serious dila- 

But we may with more certainty presume that many parts of 
Anglo-Saxon structures still exist, although intermixed with pre- 
dominating buildings, often of a much later erection. If such are 
to be found, it would appear that they must be looked for chiefly, 
in door-cases i* or in massy pillars, sometimes supporting arches 


* Enriclied door> cases of stone, «x))ibiting all the pecniiaritiet commonly 
attributed to the style of the Anglo-Saxons, are frequently seen, inserted iu 
the buildings of churches, which, in almost every other part, or, perhaps, 
with no other exception, arc of the later, and pointed, style of architecture. 
It would appear that some motive of peculiar reverence induced the restorers 
of ecclesiastical structures to preserve these curious and interesting vestiges 
*f the ancient building. Mr. Staveley (Hist, of churches, p. 160.) mentions i» 
being as probable, " that civil business was sometimes transacted at the south 
door of churches." And this conjecture is confirmed by the following pas- 
sage in an ancient writer : — Eadmer, describing the cathedral church of Can- 
terbury, says, that, " of two towers, at the middle of the length of this cathe- 
dral, one, on the south, had, in its side, the principal door of the church ; 
which door is often mentioned, by name, in the laws of our ancient kings j 
by which laws it is decreed, that even all suits of the whole realm, which 
cannot be legally determined in hundred or county courts, or certainly de- 
cided in the king's own court, must have their determination here, as in the 
highest court of the king." (Cathedral Hist, of Cornwall, Vol. I. p. 151. 



probably constructed by the Normans, and, in other instancesF, 
sustaining incongruous arches of the pointed style; or in the 
jflooniy crypts seen beneath many ancient churches.* 


Gervase, 1292, Twisden.) It, likewise, appears that smaller occasional 
courts were held at the doors of country churches. (Ibid, p. 155. note, and 
the authority there quoted.) — We are infartned by Blomeiield's History of 
Norwich, that it was customary, formerly, for " a couple who were to be 
married, to be placed at the church door, where the priest used to join their 
hands, and perform the greatest part of the matrimonial office ; it was here 
that the husband endowed his wife with the portion, or dowry, contracted 
for ; which was, therefore, called des ad ostium eeclesi<e, or the dowry at the 
church door" Chaucer describes his " Wile of Bath," as receiving her hus- 
bands at " the church dore." — The piCservation of round-headed do«r-cases, 
in re-edified buildings, is not peculiar to this country. The author of the 
Ornaments of churches considered (p. 91. note) observes, " that an old doorj 
with a round arch, and hatc))ed mouldings, is remaining in the cathedral of 
Liege," although the other parts of that structure are entirely of the pointed 

* Concerning the intended purpose of the crypts remaining beneath many 
ancient churches, and those which are sometimes found, without any exist- 
ing superstructure, numerous conjectures have been formed ; the majority of 
which appear to be entitled to little consideration. From the extract of 
Richard, Prior of Hexham, giren in a previous page (p. 258.) it will be seen 
that the Saxuus constructed " chapels, and oratories subterraneous," beneath 
their principal churches. 

A learned and ingenious correspondent suggests the probability of many 
crypts being originally de&igned for sanctuaries ; and presents the following 

" It appears that crypts were fornned much more frequently during the 
Saxon and Danish dj'nasties, than after those eras. In subsequent times, the 
chancel of CTCry church became a sanctuary ; and in the leign of Henry the 
Seventh, even th^ churchyards protected, for a prescribed term, persons ac- 
cused of any crime, except treason. &c. and this privilege was not abolished 
until the reign of James the First. 

" In the barbarous sges of the Saxons and Danes, persoins of consequence, 
and even some of the nobility, occasionally fled to these sanctuaries ; wherei 
they were concealed from the rage of the injured family, until their crimes 
were atoned for. By which means, sanctuaries afforded a considerable reve- 


Destitute of positive data, whence to form analogical inferences, 
the decision of the examiner must, however, be made with great 
caution; since the utmost result of his judgment can amount 
only to ingenious conjectural appropriation. 

In the above outline of opinion, I have been actuated by a per- 
suasion that we have not direct testimony for believing any 
known remaining building to have been erected in an Anglo-Saxon 
age. Bolder writers, and perhaps more luminous guides, inculcate 
different precepts. In the current annals of antiquarianism, 
numerous fabrics are either wholly, or in part, received, with- 
out hesitation, as relics of ages anterior to the conquest. But 
it would appear, that, when forming such a conclusion in regard 
to conventual churches, (the only buildings of our Saxon ances- 
tors, concerning which we possess a resemblance of legitimate 
record) the enquirer is often misled, by a dependance on the 
date at which the institution was founded. — A modern writer 
justly observes, that " Charters of foundation are insufficient evi- 
dence in such cases; because new endowments were formed, or 
grafted on former ; and later erections were ^raised on the sites of 
preceding buildings."* 


nae to the clergj. We may readily suppose that no expense would be spared 
in the architectural decoration of buildings appropriated to so lucrative a 
use : and, accordingly, they are olten found to be enriched with fine groined 
arches, whilst the supporting pillars are highly ornamented with grotesque 
devices ; particularly in the instance of the crypt beneath St. Peter's church, 
at Oxford. 

" That crypts were, in later times, used as cemeteries, is very probable;' 
but that they were not uniformly designed for such a purpose, is evident 
from a curious small crypt, now beneath a house on the west side of the mar- 
ket-cross, at Clare, in Suffolk ; which is, in dimensions of ground plan, t'O 
feet by 17 ; with the roof supported by a single pillar, in the centre; similar 
to a chapter-bouse. In the instance of this crypt, it would have been im- 
practicable for a grave to hare been dug, without danger to the foundation 
of the pillar; the space being only six feet from the base of the pillar to the 
foundation of the walls." M.S. communication of Thomas Walford, Esq. 
F. A. S. 

• Architectural .Antiquities, Vol. III. p. 23. 


Whilst admiUing the propriety of this remark, we eater on 
the difficulty of distinguishing between architectural works of the 
Saxons and Normans, iu this country; since the buildings often 
attributed to the dynasty of tlie former, are found, on careful in- 
vestigation, to resemble, even in many particulars of minute 
ornament, existing structures, which may be ascribed, on satis- 
factory grounds, to succeeding Anglo-Norman ages. 

The dates at which churches were erected, are sometimes as- 
certained by inscriptions. Such memorials are not very unusual, 
in buildings raised after the conquest; but they are truly rare, 
as regards the Anglo-Saxon ages, except in instances where 
they have evidently been composed in more recent times. Dr. 
Pegge, in his Sylloge of Ancient Inscriptions, notices only four; 
which occur at Jarrow, in the county palatine of Durham;* 
Kirkdale, in Yorkshire ;i Aldbrough, iu Holderness; and Post- 
ling, in Kent.t But these buildings do not present any decided 
architectural remains, in the style believed to have prevailed 
at the dates indicated by the inscriptions. 

In a work like the present, which is not intended to be merely 
tlie vehicle of individual opinion, but is designed to convey a brief 
analysis of what has been adduced on each subject, by antiqua- 
rian authors of eminent credit, it is required that some notice 
should be taken of the criteria usually adopted by such as venture 
to draw a line between the architectural style under consideration, 
and that of the Normans, as practised in Britain. With two excep- 
tions (the writings of Mr. Millers and Mr. King) such remarks are 
of a fugitive, irregular, character, and may be concisely stated. 

It is generally agreed that the churches of the Anglo-Saxons 
were inferior in size to those of their successors; and it may, 


* Mr* Hutchinson (Hist, of Durban), Vol. II.) supposes the inscription it 
Jarrow, to be really more modern than tlie time of the Anglo-Saxsni. See, 
also. Beauties for Durham, p. 172. 

+ See this inscription noticed, likewise, Archxol. Vol. V. p. 188. et seq. 

} This inscription has now disappeared. See Beauties for Kent, p. llt4^ 


certainly, be presamed that, if any still remain in those retired 
si Illations, where alone they can be supposed to exist, they are 
of very limited proportions. 

Dr. Milner asserts that they may, in part, be distinguished by 
" the coarseness of the work;"* and we have been told, by Mr. 
Staveley,t " that the Saxons made their churches generally with 
descents into them, whereas the Normans, contrarily, made theirs 
with ascents." But this latter observation is noticed, chiefly 
that it may be corrected. Dr. Ducarel, writing concerning some 
of the most ancient churches which he examined, in Normandy, 
states, " that the entrance into such churches, is always, by a de- 
scent of three or four steps ;"j and that the Normans used the 
same method in Britain, is evinced by many churches, now as- 
certained to have been erected under their patronage. 

Dr. Milner believes that " certain low cones, which frequently 
cover the towers, and flank the corners of the buildings," are 
peculiar marks of this style of architecture. § It would appear 
that he forms such an opinion, on^the occurrence of these conical 
cappings at the east end of St. Peter's, Oxford. 

According to Mr. Dallaway, " the principal discrimination be- 
tween the Saxon and the Norman styles, appears to be, that of 
much larger dimensions, in every part; plain, but more lofty, 
vaulting ; circular pillars of greater diameter ; the round arches, 
and the capitals, having ornamental carvings much more elabo- 
rate and various, adapted to them."{| 

In the twelfth volume of Archseologia, are some diffuse remarks 
concerning distinctions between these two styles, from the pen of 
Mr. Wilkins ; and, as what he has written has met with consider- 
able notice, I present the following extract. 

" The Saxons supported their arches, which separated the 

T aisles, 

* Arohitecture of the Middle agef, p. 38. 

^ History of Churches, &c. p. 151. 

X Anglo-Norman Aiiliq. p. 97. 

$ .\rchitecture of the Middle ages, p. 28. _, 

I Obtttvationi oo EnglisI) Architecture, p. 19. 


aisles^ by a single column^ or rather pier, ivhich was circniar, 
octangular, or Iiexangular, in the plan; whereas the Norman 
architects supported theirs, in general, with extremely massive 
piers, ornamented on their sides and angles with upright small 
columns; and sometimes they intermixed them with round piers, 
like the Saxons, as may be seen in Ely, Norwich, Peterborough, 
and other cathedrals. They diflPered widely, however, from the 
Roman prnportiens; and the Normans increased the differencs, 
as is shewn by the following comparison : 

Saxon Proportions. 

Diameters. Height. 

Ft. Inc. Ft. Inc. diam. 

Piers to the chancel at Orford, i 130 4 

in SufTolk > 

Width of the arches 3 diameters. 

Piers to the conventual church > . . . ^ ^ , ^ 

a. El, ]" * 14 2 = 6+2 

Width of the arches 3 diameters. 

Norman Proportions. 

Piers in Norwich Cathedral 7 3 14 6 = 3 

Width of the arches 2 diameters. 

The same proportions may be observed in Ely, Peterborough, 
and other Norman buildings."* 

Mr. Millers presents the following, among other presumed 
*' Characteristics of the Saxou style."— In regard to form and 
extent, it may be questioned " whether their churches were ever 
higher than one tier of arches, and a range of windows above. 
Richard, Prior of Hexham, speaks of three stories, which im- 
plies another tier of arches ; but if he is. rightly so understood, 
this seems an exception from a general rule, for the church of 
Hexham is spoken of by all writers who mention it, as the glory 


• Arehaeol. Vol. XII. p. 159. 


of Saxon cburches in the seventh century." The arches, Mr. 
Millers describes as being, " frequently very plain — sometimes 
decorated with various sorts of mouldings, not only on the face, 
but in the soffit, which, in some instances (as in the ruins at 
Ely) is entirely occupied by them — double, triple, or quadruple, 
each resting on two columns, and generally faced with a different 
moulding, which is frequently double; so that, upon the whole, 
there are six or eight concentric semicircles of them ; and, as 
each semicircle projects somewhat beyond the next, a moulding 
is placed under the projecting parts, usually the same as that 
upon the face of it.*' 

AhtT noticing the various shapes of columns supposed to be 
Saxon, the same writer mentions them as being "strong and 
short, in proportion to the span of the arch — the circumference 
often equal to the height — the capitals indented with fissures of 
different lengths, forms, and directions; the divisions thus formed, 
variously sloped off, or hollowed out towards the top — sometimes 
decorated with rude imitations of some correspondent member, of 
a Grecian order, as leaves, or volutes — and in these ornaments 
much, and even sportive, variety is displayed; only opposite 
ones being commonly alike." 

The windows, according to Mr. Millers, "are sometimes so 
very small, that they are rather narrow loops than windows, 
about three feet high, and six or eight inches wide, expanding 
inwards through the thickness of the wall. The roof, vaulted. 
The very few remains of Saxon vaulting" (says Mr. Millers) 
" are mostly in crypts, as at York and Winchester." As to 
ornaments, " the Saxon churches seem to have been bare of 
decoration, excepting what has been before mentioned to have 
been sometimes, even profusely, bestowed on the arches and 

Mr. King has devoted to a consideration of Anglo-Saxon ec- 
T 2 cksiastical 

" Description of tlie Cathedral church of Ely, Sec by George Millers, 
M. A. Article " Chsracteristics of the Saxon style," 


clesiastical architecture, the fourth volume of his large and costly 
Work, intituled Munimenta Antiqua. It would ap^^ear that this 
writer is chiefly valuable, as an investigator and a guide, when 
exploring the castellated remains of antiquity, and presenting the 
fruits of a research, where prepossession, and aii over -ruling zeal, 
tiave little opportunity of exercise. There is reason tu fear that 
his fancy prevailed over his judgment, to the serious injury of 
his undertaking, when he directed his attention to the ecclesias- 
tical architecture of those obscure agee which preceded the Nor- 
raan conquest. 

A brief exposition of his notions, respecting the gradations of 
style which he believes to be evinced by remaining Anglo-Saxon 
ecclesiastical buildings, and the characterislical marks of each 
determinate mode, is presented in the following words, which act 
as a sort of corollary to this portion of this work. 

'' It may be observed, as a new, and though obvious, yet 
hitherto unnoticed, circumstance, that Saxon Ecclesiastical Ar- 
chitecture may, most justly, be considered as having had three 
very different stages, and periods of its existence ; uamely : 

1 . The early Saxon, or dawning Saxon. 

2. The full Saxon, or perfect Saxon. 

3. The declining Saxon, or last Saxon ; liable to be 

confounded with the Norman. 

" And the criteria, by which buildings, belonging to these 
several periods, may he distinguished, are very remarkable. 

" The first, and earliest Saxon architecture, in churches, 
draws onr attention by the multitude of the minute, and de- 
signedly varied ornaments, of the several parts. — A characteris- 
tic specimen of which may be seen in Barfreston church, in Kent. 

*' The second kind, appears more bold, and in a more noble 
style, with less numerous ornaments : — but still with much variety 
in the adornments; — of which there are most striking instances, 
in the cathedral of Christ church, in Oxford;— and iu Canute' » 
great Gate at St. Edmund's Bury, in SufTolk. 

" And 


"' And the third, and last kind, is manifested, both by its 
clumsy, stately magnificence, on a greater scale, and in greater 
proportions; — and by its having cast off so much o( varied oma- 
ment, that it is difficult to be distinguished from the first plain 
Norman; saving that the y?rs< A'crman had still larger propor- 
tions. — And the specimens at Southwell, and Waltham, are suf- 
ficident to elucidate this fact. 

" The first species of Saxon Architecture, continued from the 
conversion of Egbert, King of Kent, about A. D. d&8; and from 
the first building of Archbishop Theodore's churches; to the time 
of King Alfred, about A. D. 872. 

" The second species of Saxon Architecture, continued from 
ihe days of Alfred, through those of King Canute; and till the 
time «f the first Harold, about 1036. 

" And the last species of Saxon Architecture, continued from 
that time, to the Conquest."* 

It is almost superfluous to observe, that the above bold classifi- 
cation of styles is ingenious rather than useful, since it rests upon 
Ji presumptive appropriation of dates to specified buildings, con- 
cerning the real time of whose erection we do not possess legiti- 
mate intelligence. Some minute criteria for distinguishing the 
architecture of the Anglo-Saxons (according to the system of Mr. 
King) are scattered through various pages of the same laborious 
work. The principal of these are subjoined ; but it will be ob- 
vious that they are, in the greater part, liable to a similar ob- 
jection with his division of supposed Anglo-Saxon structures into 
regular classes. 

Mr. King considers the primary mark of distinction, between 
roost churches of Saxon and Norman architecture, to cousist in 
the comparatively small dimensions of the former, not only as to 
general ground-plan, but in regard to the proportions of the 
«doors and windows. He, also, believes the Anglo-Saxon archi- 
lects to be deficient in elegance of design; and the masons to be 

l^s skilful in execution. 

T 3 Tlje 

• MunimcDta Antiijua, Vol. IV. p. 241 — J42. 


The following peculiarities are noticed by him, as affording 
characteristical distinctions of early Saxon arches. 

" 1. A studied diversity of ornament, in the capitals of the 
rapporting pillars, on each side the arch ; instead of exact uni- 

" 2. A transom stone, (or transom stones,) most usually filling 
up the semi-circular part of the arch, as if to support it ou the 
inside ; and generally resting on the pillars at the two ends. 

" 3. The supporting pillars, placed standing inwards, and 
somewhat nearer to each other than the whole diameter of the 
arch; and so as to support, with their capitals, both the inward 
transom stone, as well as the ends of the arch. 

" 4. A loaded variety of ornaments, on the mouldings of the 
arch; and often in very small compartments. — And a great variety 
of mouldings, besides the indented moulding. 

" 5. Yet, iu general, a very plain simple kind of impost 
moulding, resting on the capitals of the pillars, for the support 
of the arch."* 

Mr. King adds, that " all these five peculiarities are some- 
times (though not often) found united together in the same door- 
case, or window ; and are, ever, so truly characteristic, that hardly 
any Saxon doortoay- is found without one or two of them com- 
bined.'' He does not, however, contend that these peculiar orna- 
inents continued invariably to be used, "just in the same sort 
of fashion, quite till the Norman conquest; or that, immediately 
afterwards, they went entirely out of use. Now-and-then, they 
"were somewhat imitated by the Normans; but in such a manner, 
that they may easily be distinguished by a discerning eye; both 
by the larger proportion of the several parts, and by an evident 
introduction of corresponding ornaments, on each side, instead 
of the Saxon diversity." 

Confident in his appropriation of styles, Mr. King presents the 
following long catalogue of " Saxon mouldings,'* Of IheSe, h« 
MVK, " that only the plainest, and most simple, and, in general^ 


• ifNniroenta Anti<jBa, Vol, IV'. p. 78--79v " 



only the cheveron zig-zag, or the triple indented mouldings were 
ever imitated, or at all used, by the Normans/'* 

The double-leaf moulding. 

The cheveron, or zig-zag mould- 

The triple indented moulding. 

The triangular frette moulding. 

The enriched triangular mould- 

The embattled frette moulding. 

The labyrinth moulding. 

The lozenge moulding. 

The enriched lozenge, or enrich- 
ed frette moulding. 

The rose moulding. 

The trefoil leaf moulding. 

The scroll foliage moulding. 

The enriched quaterfoil mould- 

The mere scroll moulding. 

The starry moulding. 

The bead moulding. 

The nobbed moulding. 

The nail-head moulding. 

The billet moulding. 

The double billet moulding. 

The square billet moulding. 

The hatched moulding. 

The intrusted moulding. 

The scribbled moulding. 

The cable, or twisted moulding. 

The braided moulding. 

The crossed circle moulding. 

The sun-flower moulding. 

The reticulated moulding. 

The chequer moulding. 

The cross pointed moulding. 

The spear point moulding. 

The head moulding. 

The heart moulding. 

The wedge moulding. 

The nebule moulding. 

The over-lapping moulding. 

The corbel table.f 

As a necessary appendage to this section of our enquiries, I 
submit an enumeration of the principal churches, and parts of 
ecclesiastical buildings, (independent of door-cases) which many 
writers are accustomed to ascribe to the Anglo-Saxons. These 
supposed examples are chiefly selected from Dr. Ducarel's Anglo- 
Norman Antiquities; Mr. King's Munimenta Antiqna (volume 
fourth;) Mr. Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons; Mr. Car- 
ter's Ancient Architecture; and the Archseologia. 

Avington church, Berks. Stewkly church, Buckingham- 
shire. Dinton charch, Bucks. Remains of the Conventual 

T 4 church 

• Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. IV. p. 84 — 85. 
A plate, containing delineations of iliese mouldings, is given in Muni- 
BJenta Antiqua, Vol. IV. 


church at Ely, Cambridgeshire. Warwick church, iiearCai- 
lisle, in Ccmbekland. Melbourne church, Derbyshi re. Stud- 
land church, Dorsetshire. Church of Walthain Abbey, Essex. 
Greensted church, Essex. Church at Tewkesbury, Glouces- 
tershire. Church of Bishop's Cleeve, Gloucestershire. Parts 
of Rumsey church, Hampshire. Part of St. Alban's abbey 
church, Hertfordshire. Church of St. Michael, at the same 
place. Barfrestou church, Kent. The Undercroft of Canter- 
bury Cathedral. Remains of the west front of the abbey church 
of St. Augustine's monastery, Canterbury. The church of Cro wle, 
Lincolnshire. , Church of Southwell, Nottinghamshire. 
Part of the cathedral, Oxford. Part of St. Peter's in the 
East, Oxford. Iffley church, Oxfordshire. Tickencote church, 
Rutlandshire. Part of the church of Hales-Owen, Shrop- 
shire; and St. Kenelm's chapel there. Tutbury church ; Staf- 
fordshire. Chapel at Orford, in Suffolk. Church of New 
Shorehani, Sussex. -Parts of the monastery at Pershore, Wor- 
cestershire. The undercroft of Worcester Cathedral. The 
chapel of St. Mary in Criptis, in York Cathedral. Adel church 
near Leeds, Yorkshire. The crypt of Lestingeham church, York- 

On the Modes of Sepulture practised by the An- 
glo-Saxons. — That the Saxons, in common with other northern 
nations, atone period burnt their dead, is unquestionable; and 
that it was also their custom occasionally to erect barrows, or 
tumuli, over the ashes, or the body, of the deceased, is equally 
certain. Many barrows still remain in Lower Saxony, to attest 
the truth of this latter assertion.* 

It would, however, appear to be likely that the Saxons, in 
their rude state, paid little attention to dignity of sepulture, 
except on particular occasions. Tacitus, speaking of the Ger- 
mans (and thence, relatively, of the Saxons) describes them as 
despising what they deemed the fruitless ambition of magnificent 


• Muninienta Antiqua, Vol. I. p. 287, after Brown's trayeJ* through Gw- 


funerals, except as to instances of extraordinary public regret. 
In such distinguished acts of sepulture, the warrior's horse, and 
probably his arms, together with funeral urns, were deposited in 
the vicinage of his remains. 

From these remarks it would seem to be probable that barrows 
constructed by the Saxons, in their rude state, and during the 
first ai^es of their settlement in this island, should still be found, 
although not of frequent occurrence. 

But it is certain that no large barrow has been proved, on iu- 
vestigation, to contain indicia of Saxon interment. It is ob- 
served by Mr. King, that, with the exce|rtion of the tumulus in 
Yorkshire, ascribed to Hengist, there is not one instance, as far 
as his knowledge reached, of even a satisfactory traditionary 
record concerning an existing barrow raised to the memory of an 
Anglo-Saxon King.* We may, perhaps, believe that the Anglo- 
Saxons wanted security and leisure for the construction of such 
immense barrows as have been attributed to them by some writers, 
nrhilst they were engaged in the wars which continually prevailed 
previous to their conversion and the consolidation of their petty 
states. It must, at any rate, be received as indubitable, that the 
result of actual research, in every division of the island, tends to- 
wards proving that all the larger barrows, (comnoemorative of indi- 
vidual, or family, sepulture) and the generality of every other class, 
now remaining in England, are of ancient British formatiou.f 

Mr. Douglas, in his elaborate and ingenious work, intituled 
Ifenia Britannica, supposes that, in many instances, small bar- 
rows placed in clusters must be ascribed to the Anglo-Saxons. 
The researches of Mr. Douglas are principally confined to Kent. 


• Munimenta Antiqua, p. 269. The tumulus ascribed to Hengistik noticed 
in the Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 873. 

t It has been observed, in a previous page, that Battle barrows, or those 

raised over heaps of the slain on fields of battle, have been used in aJl ages. 

Such barrows are not invariable appendages to fields of ancient military 

action, but thoy are sometimes found near spots where battles between the 

gxons and Danes are historically, or traditionally, said to have takrai place. 


At Sibertswold, Barham 'downs, Chartham, Chatliara, Ash, and 
other parts of that county, he prosecdted laborious investigations. 
The most curious of his discoveries are detailed in his work, affd 
are illustrated by prints. In the barrows which he examined he 
often found the human skeleton, accompanied by arms appear- 
ing to be Saxou ; as the shield, small and orbicular, with a boss 
in the centre, like that of the Saxon foot soldier, as represented 
in illuminated manuscripts ; spear-heads, swords, and axes, equally 
corresponding with weapons described in Anglo-Saxon drawings. 
In the same cists were also discovered urns, and various earthen 
vessels. Articles of female ornament were found in other bar- 

In the course of his investigations, Mr. Douglas believes that 
he has discovered relics of the Saxon custom of burning the body, 
as well as instances of entire interment. And it is probable 
that both modes might be practised by the Saxons in Bri- 
tain. For the ultimate result of his diffuse opinions, the reader, 
desirous of pursuing an entangled subject through the readiest 
channel, is referred to those parts of the Nenia Britannica which 
the author terms Observations ; Argument ; Historic Relation ; 
and General conclusion. 

The researches of the modern historian of the Anglo-Saxons 
afford us the following particulars of information: "The custom 
of interring the body had become established at the sera when 
their history began to be recorded by their Christian clergy, and 
was never discontinued. 

'' Their common cofBns were wood ; the more costly were stone. 
Thus, a nun who had been buried in a wooden coffin was after- 
wards placed in one of stone.* Their kings were interred in 
stone coffins ;f they were buried in linen ;j; and the clergy in 
their vestments." § 


* Bede, 1. iv. c. 19. 4 Ibid. c. ir. X Ibid. c. 19. 

$ Ibid. p. 261. — As quoted in Turner's Hist, of the Anglo-Suxons, Vol. 11. 
f' 154. 


Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury^ obtained permission, 
about the year 750, for cemeteries to be made within cities ; and, 
from this circumstance, it has been frequently supposed that places 
of burial, since termed church yards, were then first formed around 
places of worship. But the propriety of such an opinion is ques> 
tioned by Mr. Whitaker; and his reasons for a contrary belief 
are stated below.* 

It became, at an early period, the custom of the English to 
bury within churches. This practice was soon carried to so nn- 
desirable an extent, that it was first restricted to those whose 
lives were known to have been acceptable to God; and after- 
wards to ecclesiastics, or laymen deserving of such a distinction 
by actions eminently righteous. It will scarcely be doubted but 
that, in appreciating the merit of the deceased laity, any bene- 
factions to the church were deemed acts of especial righteous- 
ness. All former tombs in churches were now directed to be 
made level with the pavement; and, if the tombs were so numer- 

• ** The custom of placing coemeteries around our churches, in England, i* 
Asserted by all our antiquaries to have been originally introduced bj Cuth- 
bert, Archbishop of Canterbury, about the year 7bO. But they are as much 
mistaken in this, as I have already shewn them to be in many other particu- 
lars. And the churchyard was every where laid out, at the time when the 
parish church was erected, among the kingdoms of the Heptarchy. The 
churches in France had coeiueteries about them, as early at .595. And those 
in England had them equally, as early as the period of their own construc- 
tion. The very first that was built by the Saxons in the kingdom, that of St. 
Peter and St. Paul, without the city ot Canterbury, had an inclosure for se- 
pulture about it; and the very first apostle of the Saxons, the pious and wor- 
thy Augustin, was actually buried within it. In sixteen years only after the 
conversion of the Northumbrians, the church of Lindisfarue appears encircled 
with its coemetery ; and the head of Oswald, the slain mona.rch uf the king- 
dom, and the body of Aidan, the bishop of the diocess, were equal I j inter- 
red there. And even the country church of St. Michael, distant about a mile 
and a half from Hexham, bad a coemetery around it u early as 6^5." Hitt, 
of Manchester, Vol. II. p. 411. 4to. edit. 


ous or important as to render sach a measure difficult of exeeu* 
^ion, the altar was removed to a spot less incumbered.* 

It would appear to be probable that the Anglo-Saxons, although 
possessed of sufficient sculptural art, were not accustomed, in 
general usage, to place figures imitative of the human form, even 
on the tombs of the most distinguished deceased ;f and it is cer- 
tain that no well authenticated monumental effigies^ of Saxon con- 
struction, is now remaining. On this subject may be cited the 
following remarks of Mr. Lethieullier : " During the lime of our 
Saxon ancestors I am apt to think few or no monuments of this 
sort were erected ; al least, being usually placed in the churches 
belonging to the greater abbeys, they felt the stroke of the general 
dissolution; and scarce any have fallen within my observation, 
or are, I believe, extant. Those We meet with for the kings of 
that race, such as Ina at Wells, Osric at Gloucester, Sebba and 
Ethelbert, which were in St. Paul's, or wherever else they oc- 
cur, are undoubtedly cenotaphs, erected in later ages by the 
several abbeys and convents of which they were founders, in 
gratitude to benefactors so generous." | 

Mr. Gough§ enlarges on the above opinion, and presents many 
observations on the palpable want of antiquity in several monu- 
ments scattered throughout different parts of England, which are, 
by local guides and heedless examiners, attributed to an Anglo' 
Saxon era. We may, indeed, readily believe that the piety or 
policy of monks in later ages, induced the erection of monuments, 
with fanciful representations of their founders, or benefactors. 
The most judicious writers agree with Mr. Gongh in considering 
all sepulchral monuments, supposed to commemorate persons 
who flourished before the conquest, to be at least of dubious au- 


* See Wilk. Leg, Anglo-Sax. p. 179. p. 84 ; and Turner's .^uglo-Saioi^ 
HUlorj, Vol. II. p. 1.54—1.55. 
f Muniments Antiqua, Vol. IV. p. 192. 
t Arcliwol. Vol. II. p. 293. 
j Sepulchral luonunicnts, Vol. I. Introduction. 


On Anglo-Saxon Coins. — There are few subjects of histo- 
rical enquiry more deeply involved in darkness and perplexity, 
than the coinage of the Anglo-Saxons. So entirely is this the 
case, that the most laborious investigators are still unable to de- 
cide whether certain terms, expressing a standard medium of in- 
terchange among the Anglo-Saxons, be intended to signify a 
real coin, or a determinate weight of precious metal, equivalent 
to a specified number of lawful coins. Our object, in the pre- 
sent place, consists chiefly in such remarks as explain the cha- 
racter of existing coins of the various Anglo-Saxon potentates ; 
but allusions to the more obscure denominations of the represen- 
tative medium, used in important as well as ordinary transac- 
tions, are so frequent iu many volumes of the " Beauties of Eng- 
land," that a few brief, preliminary observations appear to be in- 

It is sufficiently evident that money was coined by the Anglo- 
Saxons during the Heptarchy, or Octarchy, and iu every reign 
afterwards; but there is room for doubting whether they pos- 
sessed a coinage before their invasion of Britain, and conversion 
to Christianity.* 

In Domesday-book, the payments to be rendered are stated in 
pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings. But several other terms 
were used in valuing money amongst the Anglo-Saxons. Th« 
whole of these, whether relating to actual coins, or a nominal 
substitute for a specific aggregate, are comprehended in the 
under-written enumeration, which commences with the highest 


' Turner's Hiit. of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. II. p. 13(). In a subsequent 
page of the same volume, Mr. Turner presents the following observation: 
" That the Anglo-Saxons did not use coined money before the Roman eccle- 
siastics introduced the custom, is an idea somewhat warranted by the expres- 
sion they applied to coin. This was myntt, a coin ; and from this mynetlan, 
to coin, and mynetere, a person coining. These words are, obviously, the 
Lathi tnoneta and motutaritisi and it usually happens that when one 
nation borrows such a term from another, they are indebted to the same 
source for the knowledge of the thing which it designates." 


Anglo-Saxon name for money, and ends with the lowest : The 
Pound ; tlie Mark ; the Mancus ; the Ora ; the Scyllinga, or 
Shilling ; the Tkrymsa ; the Petting, or Penny ; the Sceatta, 
Scatt, or Sceat ; the Heffling ; the Feorthling ; the Styca. 

That the Anglo-Saxon Pound, like that of the present time, 
was a denomination of money, and not a coin, will be supposed 
without any effort at demonstration. But the value of their 
pound, in other estimated sums, or in actual coins, has been much 
disputed, and is still an unsettled question. It is evident, from 
Domesday, that, in the time of Edward the Confessor, a pound 
consisted of twenty shillings, and a shilling of twelve pence. 
According to a passage in the Mercian laws, it appears that the 
pound in Mercia contained sixty shillings.* Several authors, 
however, contend that the pound consisted of forty-eight shillings 
only.f To reconcile these diversities of iipiniou, it has been sug- 
gested that the value of the shilling varied in different ages. But 
such suggestions are more plausible than satisfactory, as there is 
reason to believe that the shilling was, iu fact, merely a nominal 
sum, like the pound. 

The Mark was an imaginary sum of money, introduced toi 
English modes of reckoning by the Danes ; and is believed, by 
some authors, to have been equivalent to half a pound in weight. 
By others it is supposed to have signified the value of eight 

The Mancus is often mentioned in Anglo-Saxon charters, 
wills, and other documents ; and, in describing its relative value, 
it is often termed the mancus of gold. No coin answering to 
this character is known to exist; and it seems probable that the 


• Turner's Hist, of the Anglo-Saxon, Vol. II. p. 135, apud HicAa, Hit' 
itrt. Ep. p. 111. &c. 

♦ As Camden, Spelmaii; and Fleetwood. 

t Various authorities for these respective opinions are cited ia Henry's 
Hist, of Britain. Vol. IV. p. 258—262 ; and Tumer'a Hiu. of the Anglo* 
Saxons, Vol. 11, p. 127. 


mancus, like the pound, was merely a weight, aud nominal re- 
presentative of a specific quantity of the circulating medium.^ 

The Ora appears to have been a denomination of money, in* 
trodnced by the Danes, and is stated by Stiemhookf to have 
been the eighth part of a mark. The ora is the name for money, 
used in the Danish compact with Edward, t 

The Scyllinga, or sliilling, often occurs in the laws, and other 
writings, of the Anglo-Saxons, but is unknown as a coin; and 
is supposed by Mr. Turner, " to have been a quantity of silver, 
which, when coined, yielded five of the larger pennies, and 
twelve of the smaller." § 

The Thrymsa is a species of money sometimes mentioned in 
Anglo-Saxon laws, but so utterly unknown to historians and an- 
tiquaries, that some have supposed it equal in value to three 
Saxon shillings, and others equal only to one Saxon penny. 
The enidite author of the Anglo-Saxon history, quotes a pas- 
sage which seems to express that the thrymsa and the sceatta 
were the same. 

The Helfling and the Feorthling, which are occasionally 
noticed in Saxon writings, were undoubtedly copper monies. Jj 

The Sceatta, the Pening, or Penny, and the Styca, require 
more extended remarks. 

I have already observed that a perplexity, hitherto inextrica- 
ble, prevails in regard to the money of the Anglo-Saxons ; and 
its influence is still felt, when we attempt to appropriate names, 


* Some opinious favouring the idea of the mancus being rea^y a coin, are 
adduced in Dr. Henr_y's Hist, of Britain, Vol. IV. p. 262, et seq. Argu- 
ments on the contrary side, are advanced in Mr. Turner's Hist, of the Anglo- 
Saxons, article Money ; and the conclusions of the latter writer are stiength- 
ened by the tenonr of Mr. Pinkerton's remarks, in his Essay on Medals, 
Vol. II. 

f As quoted by Dr. Henry, Hist, of Britain, Vol. IV. p. 265. 

t Turner, Vol. II. p. 187. 

§ Hist, of the Anglo-SaxAQS, VoL U. p. 132. / 

)| Ibid, p. 136. 


although^ in the instances under consideration, v^ritten docil« 
ments are in some measure illustrated by existing contemporary 

The term Sccett, or Sceat, occurs in the earliest Anglo-Saxon 
la\rs, as a small definite quantity of money ; and is considered 
by Mr. Turner as having " been mostly used to express money, 
generally." That author believes the word to have meant a 
" definite piece of metal, originally in the uncoined state;" and 
supposes " the sccat and the scyllinga to have been the names of 
the Saxon money in the Pagan times, before the Roman a^d 
French ecclesiastics had taught them the art of coining."* Ac- 
.cording to an ingenious calculation, presented in the same page, 
"the value of the scaet, in the time of ^thelbert, wonld appear 
to have been the twentieth part of a shilling." 

Descending, in the process of his narration, to a date three 
centuries later, Mr. Turner observes that the sceatta now appear* 
to resemble in value one of the smaller Anglo-Saxon pennies. 
He then enables the future writer on numismatics to present an 
opinion, which, although hypothetical, is highly worthy of con- 
sideration ; namely, that the sceat was the smaller penny, and 
the pening, properly so called, was the larger one. 

The Pening, or Penny, was the standard coin of the Anglo- 
Saxons; and that by which they frequently reckoned, although 
the art of numeration was simplified by various nominal values. 
It is indicated, in the preceding paragraph, that there were two 
kinds of pennies, the greater and the less; and this would ap- 
pear to be proved by a passage in the laws of Alfred, where it 
is directed that " the violation of a man's borg should be compen- 
sated by five pounds, marra peninga, of the larger pennies."f 

The Styca was a small coin of copper, or billon, (base metal) 
worth about half a farthing. It is only ascertained to have pre- 

• Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. II. p. 1S9. 
f Ibid. Vol. U. p. 127. 


vailed in Northumbria, and in the later period of that king- 

Such are the names for money which occur in the writings of 
the Anglo-Saxons; in tlieirlaws, charters, wills, and other sur- 
viving documents. But, in forming the above explanatory enu- 
meration, I have avoided to notice many speculative opinions of 
incidental writers on this dark subject; aud iiave principally ad- 
hered, in the outline of my brief remarks, to the guidance of Mr. 
Turner, in his Anglo-Saxon history, and Mr. Pinkerton, in his 
Essay on Medals. On the same authorities, aided by some per- 
sonal opportunities of intelligencCj I submit to the reader the 
following observations. 

Notwithstanding various endeavours to establish a persuasion 
of gold coins having been issued by Anglo-Saion potentates, it 
is certain that not any have been discovered, nnder such circum- 
stances as to become recorded, and known to the public. We 
may, therefore, venture to presume, in the present state of infor- 
mation, that no such coins existed, especially w^ien we recollect 
the numerous specimens of silver money which have descended 
to our time, without any peculiar effort at preservation, or zeal 
of research. It is, however, clear, from a passage in Bede, 
translated by King Alfred, that the historian and the king were 
both acquainted with coins of gold. To profit by the words of 
Mr. Turner, " it, certainly, can be hardly doubted that when 
gold coins circulated in other parts of Europe, some from the 
different countries would find their way into England. The use 
of the word aureos, in the Historia Eliensis, implies gold coin; 
aud that coins called Aurei were circulated in Europe, is evident 
from the journal of the monks who travelled from Italy to Egypt, 
in the ninth or tenth century. "f 

Although we have no proof that the Anglo-Saxons used gold 

U in 

• Pinkerton's Evsaj on Medals, Vol. II. 
+ The itinerary of these monks is still extant, and is noticed in the History 
•f the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p. 318—19. 


in coinasfe, it is certain that they possessed considerable quanti- 
ties of that metal; an<l their deeds and wills prove that it con- 
tinually formed the medium of their purchases and gifts. Mr. 
Turner is of opinion that gold was used as a valuable represen* 
tative, in an uncoined state ; and is inclined to believe that sil- 
ver, also, was sometimes negotiated in the same way. After a care- 
ful investigation of the subject, the same respectable writer "con- 
siders the two sorts of pennies as the only coins of the Anglo- 
Saxons, above their copper coinage; and is induced to regard all 
their other denominations of money, as weighed or settled quan- 
tities of uncoined metal."* 

Whether the above conclusions be deemed satisfactory or not, 
it may be received as unquestionable that the existing Anglo- 
Saxon coins are confined to the Sceatta or Penny, and the Styca. 
Mr. Pinkerton, in his ingenious and useful Essay on Medals, for- 
bears to enquire deeply concerning the intricate subject of the 
Anglo-Saxon coinage ; but his section on their existing coins is 
calculated to convey much judicious information. 

Previous to submitting any intelligence afforded by his work, it 
is necessary to observe that several ecclesiastical persons, as well 
as the king, and, also, certain towns, had the privilege of a 
mint. A statement of many of these privileged persons and 
places, chiefly collected from Wilkins,t and from the record of 
Domesday, is presented in the second volume o\' the history of 
the Anglo-Saxons.* 

In regard to the character of the silver Scca/fas, or early Saxon 
pennies, as to the inscriptions and impresses which they bear, k 
is observed by Mr. Pinkerton that they latterly have legends, but 
at first only rude figures of serpents, &c. and sometimes one or 
two letters. " Skeattas were struck in Kent, and the other early 
heptarchic states^ from the sixth to the eighth century, or from 


• Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. II. p. 13J. 

f Wilkins, Leg. Anglo Sax. 

I Vid«, Turner's Anglo-Saxons, Vol. II. p. IS? — 8< *» ' 


about the year 500, till 700. Most of the skeattas, as appears 
from their symbols, were struck iiithe Pagan times." 

Those larger pennies of silver, noticed in the laws of Alfred, 
have been frequently discovered. Mr. Pinkerton informs us, 
that " no heptarchic pennies occur till after the year 700. These 
pennies are, therefore, almost all of the eighth century, or from 
700 till 832, when Egbert terminated the seven kingdoms,*' or 
rather, the octarchy. " The heptarchic pennies are of Edbert 
the Second; Cuthred, and Baldred of Kent ; Edmund and Ethel- 
8tan of the East Angles; Eadwald, and Offaof Mercia and Quiu- 
red his queen; with Egbert, Kenwulf, Biornulf, Ludica, Bert- 
wulf, Bughred, and Ceolwulf, all kings of Mercia: likewise 
Ethelweard, and Beorhtric of the West Saxons: besides the 
archbishops of Canterbury, Janbert, and Athileard.*" 

Mr. Pinkerton justly observes, that " it is a vulgar error to 
suppose Egbert, 832, either first king, or really king, of all 
England; yet he and his descendants were chief monarcbs; 
though petty kingdoms existed till 959; and some of their coins 
are found, as of Sihtric and Anlaf of Northumbria. 

*' The coins of the chief monarchs, present almost a complete 
series, from Egbert 832, to Edgar 959 ; after whom there are 
only kings of all England. Ethelbald, 857, is the only chief 
monarch of whom there are no coins ; and there are none of Ed- 
mund Ironside. Most of them bear rude portraits, and the re- 
verses are sometimes curious and interesting. Some have views 
of cathedrals, and other buildings; particularly one of Edward 
the Elder, A. D. 900, has the cathedral of York, with three 
rows of windows, round arched. Coins of Anlaf, king of Nor- 
thumbria, have the famous raven, tho Danish ensign; and those 
of other princes have often curious reverses, and great variety. 
The inscriptions are, also, sometimes curious; as, on Egbert's 

U 2 coins 

• It will be observed that two of the kingdoms of the Octarchy are not 
known to have possessed coins; those of ihe South Saxous and the East 


coins, SaxoHvm for Anglorum, and on EtlielwulPs Saxoniorvm. 
Pennies of Athelstan bear Rex tot. brit. or Totius Britanniae ; 
probably struck after his defeating Constantin, king of Scot* 

" Ecclesiastic coins appear of the archbishops of Canterbury, 
Wulfred, A. D. 804; Ceolnoth, 830; Plegmund, 889. Till 
Athelstan, 92-5. we have only names of moneyers, except on a 
few coins of his predecessors, Alfred and Edward the First; 
where we find the towns added ; a practice general after Athel- 
stan's time."* 

It has been already observed that the Sti/ca is a very small 
coin of billon (base mt-tal) or of copper, known only in Nor- 
thumbria. Specimens are engraved in the first plale of the second 
volume of i\Ir. Pinkerton's "Essay," and in Mr. Gough's editioa 
of the Britannia. t 


. In reviewing the history of Britain through its early ages, the 
patriotic and respectable vanity of the native is continually hurt 
by decisive proofs of the inhabitants wanting capacity, whatever 
their change of state, to defend themselves from foreign assault, 


* Piiikerton't Essay on Mtdais, Vol. II. p 64—66. 
f Ten plates of Aiig!u-Saxua coins ntc engraved in Hickes, Vol. III. with 
brief illustrations by Sir Andrew Fountaine. Many of these are, however, 
duplicates ; and it appears that Sir .'\ndrew read the legends with little 
" truth or certainty." In Gibson's first edition of Camden's Britannia are four 
plates, and in his second edition five plates. But the coins in these tables 
" have been incorrectly copied, and irregularly classed ; and several German 
a-ui iher coins have got in among the Saxon." In Gough's edition of Camdea 
is engraved, "a series of such Saxon coins whose genuineness may be de- 
pended upon, in the order of succession, both of kings and prelates, in tho 
»everal divisions of the Heptarchy, and after the Heptarchy to the Conquest, 
^;t.TMprch«nding a period from A. D. 758, to A. D. 1096." 


Mid lo preserve the insular character of their government. Al- 
Ihough subject, in retrospective view, to the severest censures 
attendant on unprovoked aggression, the Roman and the Saxon 
invaders of this country are still venerable in the esteem of the 
historian. But we seek in vain for a palliative of the severitiee 
inflicted by the encroachments of the Danes. Frigid in rela- 
tion to the arts, zealous only when intent on bloodshed, this 
race of invaders would be regarded with unmitigated repugnance, 
even by the modern, dispassionate examiner of history, if the 
memory of one great Anglo-Danish king, Canute, did not in- 
terpose some transient gleams of intelligence and splendour. 

In regard to the name by which these invaders are usually 
recognised, it is remarked by a modern writer, that, " although 
popular language, seldom accurate, has c:iven the denomination 
of Danes to the invaders of England, they were composed of 
the nations who lived in the regions now known by the general 
appellations of Siceden and Norway, as well as of the inhabitants 
of Zealand and Jutland." 

But 'the Danes, assuredly, were leaders in the most destruc- 
tive of these invasions from the north ; and that they we«e the 
most successful of the various bands of assailants is evident, as a 
new, though a short-lifed, dynasty in Britain was established in 
their line. '" 

It has been observed, in a previous page, that the first visit of 
these piratical invaders occurred in the year 737. But they did 
not effect a settlement in Britain until the reign of the Anglo- 
Saxon King, Ethelred. Shortly after the commencement of 
this disastrous reign, and in the year 866, a confederacy of 
northern foes arrived on our shores, with intentions more seri- 
ously injurious than tlie casual ravages of a free-booliug incur- 
sion. The political state of the country unhappily favoured 
their enterprize. Weakened by a division into four distinct go- 
vernments, the natural resources of the island were still further 
enfeebled by party dissensions and individual itruggles for 
power. , 

U 3 U 


It was soon obvious that the Danish lexers fought for domi- 
nion as well as for plunder; and, in the year which succeeded 
the date of their invasion, they assumed, by right of conquest, 
the sceptre of Northumbriu. Penetrating with sword and fire 
through several rich counties, and destroying the pious works of 
ages as they proceeded, the Danes conquered East-Anglia, and 
usurped its crown, in 870. Their efforts towards further con- 
quests were vigorously opposed by the AVest-Saxons ; but Mer- 
cia shortly submitted to their sway; and thus was England 
divided between two powers, — those of the King of Wessex and 
the government established by the Northmen. 

We are now arrived at the memorable reign of Alfred ; and 
the vftried events of this era, relating to the wars between the 
Anglo-Saxons and the Danes, are sufficiently detailed in the 
histories of the country at large. In the cotjrse of these con- 
flicts, many of the principal cities and towns of England expe- 
rienced calamitous visits from the sanguinary opponents; and, 
from this cause, the topographer is often led to a more attentive 
consideration of undecisive skirmishes, than is necessary to- 
wards a comprehension of such marked events as are of real in- 
terest, and of conspicuous weight, in the annals of the island. — 
For a reference concerning these, I necessarily refer to the pages 
of regular historians, and to the " Beauties of England" for re- 
spective counties ; but not without observing that, in numerous 
instances, the original authorities are so deficient, or indistinct, 
that many statements of the most judicious modern writers are 
unavoidably founded on ingenious calculation. — The result of 
these conflicts, as to the degree and extent of the Danish preva- 
lence in Britain, is our immediate object. 

After the mysterious seclusion of Alfred, in the year 878, it 
is well known that he obtained considerable advantages over the 
Danes; but so remote were these favourable operations from the 
entire discomfiture of the invaders, that even Alfred admitted the 
enemies of himself and of his native soil to a participation in the 
government of the isjand. The lines of demarkation between 



these divided dominions, on tlie resloration of Alfred, are thus 
noliccd by Mr. Turner, in the History of the Anglo-Saxons: 
" Alfred having permitted Godrun to colonize East-Artglia, the 
limits of their respective territories were settled by a treaty 
which still exists. By the first article the boundary was placed 
in the Thames, the river Lea to its source, and Walling Street 
to the Ouse. The spaces thus marked contained Norfolk ; Suf- 
folk; Cambridgeshire; Essex; part of Hertfordshire; part of 
Bedfordshire; and a little of Huntingdonshire. These regions 
were subjected to Godrun, and were filled with Danes. Nor- 
thumbria was afterwards put nnder Guthred, who governed 
Deira ; and Egbert ruled in Beriiicia. 

" The sovereignty of Mercia, on the defeat of the Danes, fell 
into the power of Alfred. He did not, however, avowedly in- 
corporate it with Wessex. He discontinued its regal honors, 
and constituted Ethelred its military commander, to whom he 
afterwards married his daughter, Ethelfleda, when her age per- 

Contrary to the expectation which might rationally be formed, 
on a calculation of events at this distant period, the Danes, thus 
allowed to settle in England, assumed, for an interval of some 
length, a pacific aspect, and cultivated in quiet the more useful 
of such arts as endear a stationary life. But the troubles of King 
Alfred^s public career did not end with his restoration. Fresh 
invasions frem the north speedily occurred ; and the Danes of 
Northumbria and East-Anglia, although passive in the instance 
of a first invitation from their marauding countrymen, united their 
efTorts towards the utter subversion of the Anglo-Saxon govern- 
ment with those of the powerful Hastings. It will be recollect- 
ed that Hastings was the most formidable and pernicious dis- 
turber of England in the latter years of King Alfred. The War- 
fare between this leader and the great king of the Anglo-Saxons, 
jidds an historical interest to many spots in various parts of 

U 4 Britain, 

• Hist, of the Anglo Saxons. Vol. I. p 266—7, 


Britain^ now that time has softened down the horrors of blood* 
shed, and has caused feeling to give place to curiosity. 

During the reign of Edward the Elder, which commenced in 
901, and terminated in 924, the Anglicised Danes waged fre* 
quent wars with his power ; but this able descendant of Alfred 
triumphed over their hostility. The lines of fortification by 
which he guarded the frontier of his dominions, has already been 

Athelstan ascended the throne in 924. The power of the 
Anglo-Danes had experienced a sensible diminution in the pre- 
ceding reign; and a dreadful conflict, which took place in the 
time of this sovereign, accelerated their complete subjugation. 
The Northumbrians, however, revolted in the year 941, when 
Edmund the Elder occupied the Anglo-Saxon throne, and ob- 
tained a distiuguished victory ; but the death of Aniaf, their 
leader and inspiriting genius, which occurred at a period briefly 
subsequent, restored tranquillity, through the medium of their 
entire submission. Profiting by this fortuitous circumstance, 
Edmund terminated what has been justly styled " the danger- 
ous independence" of the towns of Derby, Leicester, Notting- 
ham, Stamford, and Lincoln. These five settlements, situated 
on the northern frontiers of Mercia and East Anglia, had been 
long occupied by the Danes; but were now peopled with Saxons, 
through the policy of Edmund. 

After a long cessation of hostilities between the rival nations^ 
during which the Anglo-Danes appear to have mixed contentedly 
with their neighbours, in a progressive amalgamation of society, 
the Northmen again appeared on the British coast, as invaders 
intent on deliberate aggression, in the reign of Ethelred, sur* 
named the Unready, which commenced in the year 978. We 
now approach the period of the Danish ascendant in this island ; 
and the steps of progression are marked, as is usual with the>e 


• Vide Ante, p. 246, natc. 


dark ages, by perfidy, profuse bloodshed, and every concomitant 
crime contained in the black catalogue of human error. 

The forces with which the Danes commenced their hostile ope- 
rations in this reign, were not sufficiently numerous to have pro- 
duced serious and lasting consequences, if they had been op- 
posed by a rulor of military capacity, supported by faithful sub- 
jects. But Ethelred was dilatory to a proverb; and exposed his 
fatal want of ability to preside over a state, by almost invariably 
selecting commanders who traitorously abandoned his cause, and 
cither connived at the approaches of the enemy, or joined the in- 
vading power. The Danes, therefore, ravaged with little oppo- 
sition ; and a temporary cessation of hostilities was repeatedly 
purchased by the worst of all possible means, — a bribe, in the 
shape of ransom, for the degraded people and property of an is- 
land so strong in natural resources as Britain! 

This country was free from the terror of a northern armament 
in the year 1002; and at this period an event took place which 
is so frequently mentioned in topographical writings, that it re- 
quires some notice in the present page. It will be readily sup- 
posed tH^t I allude to the massacre of the Danes, which was 
effected by order of the Anglo-Saxon government, on the 13th 
of November in this year. Those ancient authors who form the 
most acceptable authorities for the narration of this dreadful in- 
cident, vary in regard to several particulars, of considerable im- 
portance. From a comparison of their evidence it is found im- 
practicable to ascertain the extent of the slaughter, or the^pre' 
cise classes involved in destruction. We can scarcely, however, 
believe that the families of those Danes who were permitted in 
preceding reigns to colonize various parts of Britain, were now 
sentenced to assassination; since they must have intermingled, 
in the course of many years, so closely with the Saxon setters, 
as nearly to form one people, iu regard to the ties of blood and 

Whatever might be the primary intention, it is certain that 
the wives and children of many of the Danes perished in thib 



dreadful massacre ; and among these were Gxmhilda, the sister of 
Stvein, or Svein, King of Denmark, and her family. The death 
of this lady, who had married an English earl, had received 
Christianity, and was the pledge of Danish peace, has naturally 
aSTurded a marked point of lamentation with every historian of the 
Anglo-Saxons ; and such an event, as naturally, produced a dread« 
ful retaliation on the part of her relatives and countrymen. 

Swein, the brother of the murdered lady, soon invaded Eng- 
land, and ravaged the unhappy country, with a spirit of venge- 
ance quite commensurate with the cruel injury sustained by his 
family and friends. The local effects of his revenge are noticed 
in many parts of the Beauties of England; and I take pleasure 
in believing that a detail of devastations so afflictive is, there- 
fore, unnecessary in the present portion of our work. In the 
event, the efforts of the Danes succeeded in subverting the 
Anglo-Saxon monarchy. — Sixteen counties of England were sur- 
rendered to their sway, in the year 1010; and, three years after- 
wards, the success of Swein, and the retirement of Ethelred 
into Normandy, enabled the former prince to ascend the throne. 

His death, which occurred in the year following his eleva- 
tion, led to a diversion in favour of Ethelred; but that imbecile 
king died in 1016, and left his son, the brave Edmund, to strug- 
gle with Canute, heir to the first Danish king of England. 

The short reign of this gallant prince, Edmund, surnamed 
Ironside, was one calamitous scene of warfare between the con- 
tending parties; and on his decease, Canute obtained uncon- 
tested dominion t)ver the country so long possessed by the Anglo- 

The jealous severity of this king in the early stages of his ac- 
cession to power, and the sanguinary measures which he adopted 
for the security of his individual sway, are well known, and 
cause disgust to mix with the admiration enforced by some 
actions in more mature life, and during his firmer possession of 
the throne. The life of Canute, as connected with the history 
of the English monarchy, may, with justice^ be divided into 



two eras : — that in which he was compelled hy surrounding cir- 
cumstances to deem himself merely the Danish conqueror of a 
rich country ; and the subsequent more settled period, at which 
he recognised entirely his association with the people who yielded 
to his sway, and endeavoured to promote the prosperity of his 
subjects, from a feeling so much endeared by lengthened con- 
nexion that it partook of patriotic favour. 

The errors of his first years of sovereignty may be safely as- 
cribed to the barbarous character of his education; and, as they 
were chiefly personal, the topographer leaves them to the blended 
censure and pity of the philosophical historian. In succeeding 
years, and in the latter era of his sway, he became so completely 
the patron of those whom he governed, that tlie manners of the 
age were evidently influenced by his taste and opinions.— His 
piety, however fanciful, and disfigured by the prevailing super- 
stition, now becomes an object of careful enquiry with the ex- 
aminer into ecclesiastical antiquities ; and he is found to be emi- 
nent for a reverence of monastical and other religious establish- 
ments; thus affording a sudden and strange instance of improve- 
ment on tiie character of the Danes, who, in every age of his- 
tory hitherto noticed, have appeared only as the destroyers of 
edifices venerable for beauty as well as sacred from appropria- 

It is impossible to quit the name of Canute, in the present 
section, without observing that, from certain marked incidents, 
trivial in immediate operation, and of little account with the poli- 
tician, it has obtained more permanent glory than could be de- 
rived from the successful issue of many deep closet stratagems, or 
sanguinary battles. — The most conspicuous of these is the well 
attested fact of his unfolding to himself and his surrounding cour- 
tiers a lesson of temperance in prosperity, by placing himself in 
hischair of state on the sea coast, ''^ when the waves were flowing 


• In the ueigbbourbooU of Soutliamptofe. See Beauties for Hanpshire, 
p. 131— 3. 


towards the shore ; aud there commanding the waters not to wet 
his foot, since his attendants endeavoured to persuade him that 
he was lord of all which he beheld. — An action so simple, and 
yet so grand, evinces an habitual effort at self-correction, which 
entitles Canute to the surname of Gkeat, and assists in re- 
deeming the Danish dynasty from the abhorrence of more intel- 
lectual ages. 

The crown of England was worn by only two succeeding sove- 
reigns of the Danish line ; Harold and Hardicanute. The lat- 
ter king died in 1040. 

On the Military Architecture of the Anglo-Dakes.— 
The native barbarity of these invaders from the north, and the 
precarious tenure by which they held their fluctuating portions 
of territory in Britain, previous to the investiture of Canute 
with regal dignity, forbid us to expect that permanent works of 
art, even relating to the science of defence, and the furtherance 
of security, were constructed by them at an earlier date than that 
period. The field occupied by the Danes affords, indeed, little 
gratification to the enquirer into the antiquities of this island. 
Except fur the purpose of an attempt towards satisfactory regu- 
larity of arrangement, the chief works of this era might, per- 
haps, with propriety, be involved in a continuation of Anglo- 
Saxon manners and style ^ for, although during twenty-four years 
the throne was filled by Danish sovereigns, each king of this 
line was contented with following the modes of his Saxon prede- 
cessors ; and few, if any, novelties of architectural disposal were 
introduced under their patronage. 

The author of " Northern Antiquities" describes the fortresses 
of the ancient Danes, as being " rude castles, situate on the 
summit of rocks, and rendered inaccessible by thick mis-shapen 
walls." It is observable that this fondness for choosing a lofty 
natural trlevation, as the site of a castle of defence [the most 
obvious assistant of security in the early ages of military art] 
prevailed among the Danes in the brightest period of their as- 


ceadaney iti Britain. Canute the Great \h believed to Iiave built 
several castles, of large dimensions and eqiTal strength. The 
Castle of Norwich, which is situated on a natural mount, is 
the most distinguished of the erections supposed to have beea 
made during his reign. This building, a splendid example of 
the architectural manner ascribed to the Anglo-Saxons, has been 
already noticed ; and it may, probably without any great danger 
of error, be received as a specimen of the principal fortified struc- 
tures raised by the Danes. Canute, as it would appear, although 
uniformly indulging his native partiality for an elevated site, wisely 
adopted the military architecture of the people over whom he had 
triumphed, conscious that it was far superior to the rude modes 
of his northern countrymen, and that his success was greatly 
owing to the infrequency of such formidable structures.* 

Military Earth-works of the DANES.—That the Danes, 
although predatory and rapid in their modes of warfare, until 
they obtained a regular settlement in this country, constructed, 
in numerous instances, fortifications of earth-work, for the defence 
of their camps, is evinced by the writings of ancient historians; 
and it is observed, in the History of the Anglo-Saxons, that 
the facility with which they raised such as even the great Alfred 
did not dare to assault, a/Fords a fair presumption for attributing 
to them considerable military skill.f 

Instances of camps, which, from their local connection with 
accounts in history of battles between the Danes and Saxons, 
are ascribed to the former people, are of frequent occurrence in 
the southern parts of this kingdom, where such contests chiefly 
prevailed. But it is difiicult to distinguish between the encamp- 
ments of the two opposed parties. It would, however, appear 


• See some scattered remarks on the subject of Anglo Danish castles, ia 
Air. King's sequel to his observations on ancient castles, Archaoi. Vol. VI. 
llr. Wilkins's Essay towards a history of Norwich castle, &c. Archaol. Vol. 
XII. sad Strutt's Manners and Customs, &c. Vui. I. 

+ Hist, ofihe Anglo-SaBooi, Vol. I. p. 281. 


that, unless accidental circumstances induced the adoption of an 
irregular form, the Danes, like the Saxons, constructed their 
camps of a circular shape, and protected them by a broad and 
deep ditch.* It may be presumed that, in attention to their 
early national habits, they formed their camps on elevated spots, 
and, probably, on the brow of a hill, where such a site was at- 
tainable ;f but, ia such situations, great care must be used in 
discriminating between the intrenchments of the Britons and 
those of northern invaders. 

After the remarks which have been already presented, it will 
be necessarily supposed that little can be said respecting the 
efforts of the Anglo-Danes in Ecclesiastical Architectuue. 
These invaders, indeed, are noticed in history, rather as the de- 
stroyers, than the founders, of sacred buildings. They entered 
Britain in a state of pagan, rapacious barbarity ; and even such 
was the national condition of the Saxons, when they first wielded 
arms in this country. The Saxons attained a long period of 
secure possession ; and their improvement in the arts of civiliza- 
tion was proportioned to the extent of their influence over the 
resources of the island. The dynasty of the Danes was of brief 
duration ; and the years in which the sword lay sheathed were 
truly few. Hence, perhaps, from want of opportunity, rather 
than from a national ineptitude to amelioration of manners, they 
descend to us merely in the character of barbarians, who were 
the scourge of the land, and the enemies of established social 

When the Danes, in a pagan state, first effected serious ir. 
ruptions in Britain, they unhappily directed their chief atten- 
tion to the monastic establishments, as places affording the greatest 


• See a Danish camp describsd in the Beauties for Berkshire, p. 135 — 6. 
Por further (although brief) remarks oh the camps of the Anglo-Daues, die 
, reader is referred to Archaeologia, Vol. VIII. 

+ Archaeol. Vol. VI. p. 257. 


promise of booty. The general examiner of history, shudders 
over the recital of enormities practised in the course of these de- 
vastations. But the antiquary has less reason for regret [as far 
as the buildings may be concerned] since we have sufficient 
cause for believing that the more enlarged views of the Normans 
would have produced, at a future period, a demolition no less 
entire, iu regard to the sacred structures of the Anglo-Saxons, 
although the work of destruction might have been performed with 
pacific sentiments. 

It can scarcely be presumed that numerous [if any] places of 
Christian worship were erected by the Anglo-Danes, previous to 
the accession of Canute to regal power. Those Danes who set- 
tled by treaty in East Anglia and Northumberland, appear to have 
been nominal Christians only. Their public accordance in the 
established religious ceremonies of the country, was an article of 
stipulation; and, like most such terms of political agreement, 
was preserved during expediency, — and no longer. On the death 
of the great Alfred, they endeavoured to shake off their political 
allegiance and their religious conformity. But the strong mea- 
sures of Edward the Elder having, at length, rendered their 
military efforts unavailing, they resumed an attention to the 
religious rites of the kingdom, — as by law established. Those 
frequent regulations, framed in synods held in the 10th century, 
against the exercise of pagan ceremonies, would appear to b« 
directed particularly towards the Danish nominal members of the 
Anglo-Saxon church. 

King Canute, profiting by a period of comparative repose; and, 
probably, actuated at once by pious zeal and political wisdom; 
inculcated the necessity of conformance to that beneficent system 
of religion, which has ever been found salutary to the morals 
of the man and the fidelity of the subject. He, indeed, be- 
came conspicuous for religious ardour ; — cherished, we will pre- 
sume, in the simplicity of a true faith, but displayed according 
to the fantastical modes of the era in which he flourished. 

He made a journey to Rome, as himself says, " for the re- 



deniption of his sins, and the welfare of his subjects.*'* Whe- 
ther he acquired, in this travel to the papal city, any informa- 
tion for an improvement of the Ecclesiastical Architecture of 
England, must remain doubtful. But we are told that he be- 
came a patron of monastic foundations, and that many churches 
were built under his sanction; — these manifestations of pious sen- 
timent, being chiefly evinced on the spots signalised by former 
battles between the Danes and the Saxons. 

Little intelligence, concerning; supposed remains of such struc- 
tures, is presented even by the boldest and most conjectural 
writers. — Mr. King supposes that the fine gateway and tower at 
St. Edmund's Bury, denominated St. James's tower, or Church- 
gate, is part of the building erected at that place under the aus- 
pices of Canute. t This opinion, however, is controverted in 
Mr. Britten's " Architectural Antiquities;" where the stately 
structure in question is said to have been probably raised by Ab- 
bot Baldwin, in the time of William the First; or, otherwise, 
by "Radulphus and Hervaeus, the sacrist's, about A. D. 1121, 
or 11 30." J Not any documents are preserved, to render the 
opinion of either writer decisive. — The above gateway and lofty 
tower, at St. Edmund's Bury, afford fine specimens of the heavy, 
circular, style of architecture. 

The reigns of Harold and Hardicanule were too short, and of 
too unsettled a complexion, to allow of our believing that eccle- 
«iastical architecture met with opportunities of efficient encou- 
ragement from those sovereigos. 

We have, indeed, no sound authority for concluding that the 
vacred architecture of this country experienced any important 
change, during that short period of national prosperity, the latter 
part of " the great" Canute's reign; and thus the style ascribed 


• Turner's Hist, of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. I. p. 440, and the authority 
there quoted, (a letter of Canute ; the substance of which i< stated in Matt, 
West. 407, and elsewhere.) 

♦ Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. IV. p. 188. li' 
. t Architectural Antiquities, Vol. III. p. 78. 


to the Anglo-Saxons, may, in the present stage of information^ 
be applied to buildings erected during the Danish dynasty. — But, 
in popular apprehension, the churches of the Anglo-Danes pos- 
sessed one peculiar feature, which requires notice. 

Attached to several English parochial churches, are seen 
Round Towers, which a current tradition attributes to the peo- 
ple whose possible vestiges are now under consideration. 

These circular towers of churches, are not confined to any par- 
ticular county, or district. They are found, thinly scattered, 
in many parts of England; but they abound cbieQy in the coun- 
ties of Norfolk and Suffolk.* Although simple in design, and 
of rude construction, they afford a subject of enquiry not desti- 
tute of interest, and one, perhaps, which is worthy of more 
extended antiquarian notice thun can be bestowed in this work. 

As far as can be ascertained from printed authorities [aided 
by a correspondence commenced by the present writer, for the 
purpose of acquiring information on the subject] these round 
towers are uniformly constructed of rough materials, and such as 
could be easily procured;— whole flints, stones, chalk, and other 
coarse ingredients, imbedded in mortar. The walls are gene- 
rally of a great thickness, but gradually diminish in substance, 
as they ascend; and the towers, as now remaining, are seldom 
of an equal height with the square towers of churches, raised by 
skilful workmen, under the auspices of affluent and liberal found- 
ers. They are, usually, attached to small churches; and are 
not uniformly situated at the west end;— an instance of which 
deviation from prevalent custom may be noticed at Tooting, in 
Surrey, where is a circular tower, on the north side of the paro- 
chial church. 

It is not easy to ascertain the origin of the very common per- 
suasion, that these round towers are exclusively the works of 

X the 

* See several specimens noticed in the Beauties for Norfolk, p. 48—49. 
In Suffolk, they principally occur in the northern parts, upon the borders of 


the Danes ; miless from their frequent occurrence in the Danish 
district of East Ani^Iia. It is certain that no ancient towers of 
this description are existing in the noithern countries, whence 
those invaders proceeded ; and we have no authority for be- 
lieving that the Anglo-Danes peculiarly affected the circular 
form in any of their buildings. Tradition is here unsupported^ 
even by creditable correlative argument; and it wOvld appear 
that the judicious enquirer has considerable difficulties to en- 
counter, when endeavouring to distinguish the ages in which 
these towers were probably constmcted. 

Their high antiquity must be allowed by all. Their rude and 
artless character, evinces an early date. But we have few criteria 
for ascertaining the period at which they were raised. The em- 
bellished pointed arch never occurs, except when evidently aa 
insertion made at a date subsequent to that of the original build- 
ing.* Even the ornamented circular style [or debased Roman] 
is rarely apparent, although it is by no means uncommon to find 
their simple narrow openings^ or windows, having semi-circa- 
lar heads. 

In numerous instances, and particularly as to those which 
occur in the county of Suffolk,! these massive round towers of 
churches, are lighted by narrow apertures only, which resemble 
loops, or arrow-slits. 

Thus deriding all calculation as to the date of their erection, 
such towers must be left to the conjectures of the ingenious. 
We have, assuredly, no rational grounds for ascribing them «x- 


• The following curious feature in the round tuwer of the church of Bj- 
chamwell, Korfolk, is noticed in the Beauties for that couiitj p. 49. — la 
this tower, " are four pointed apertures, the arched parts of which, and the 
sides, are formed by plain s<iuared stones ; and the former are disposed ia 
ihe shape of an acute tritngk." Tliese loops, or windows, appear to be 
coeval with the original building ; and the editor observes, in a note. " th«| 
similar arches arc to be seen in the ancient entrance gateway to Rougemoat 
taslle, at Exeter." 

t M. S. comniunicalion of Mr. J. Raw, of Ipswich. 


clusively to the Danes; who, probably, adopted the architectural 
fashious of the Anglo-Saxons, together with a profession of 
their mode of faith ; and they occur in counties which are far 
distant from those districts in which the Danes were allowed to 
settle, previous to the establishment of a regal dynasty in their 

Wherever may be their due station in the scale of antiquity, 
it would appear that the round towers of churches are, in the 
greater number of instances, of a very remote date. Consider- 
ing the great thickness of their rude walls, and the circumstance 
of their apertures [in the lower part, and in the original con- 
struction] being cliitfly confined to narrow loops, apparently cal- 
culated for no purposes except those of admitting air, and afford- 
ing means for a discharge of missive weapons ; I would suggest 
it as being probable that they were designed, like some churches 
on the borders of England and Scotland, for defence against the 
sudden attack of marauding parties, in ages exposed to internal 
warfare and frequent predatory invasion; or, perhaps, against the 
interference of those who were hostile to the rituals of early con- 
verts to Christianity. 

On the Modes of Sepulture practised by the Anglo- 
Danes. — The numerous barrows, or tumuli, dispersed over many 
parts of this island, have naturally given rise to various conjec- 
tures and fanciful efforts at appropriation. Gloomy, from their 
known connexion wilh funeral customs; and mysterious, through 
the absence of all outward denotation concerning the ages in which 
they were constructed ; these earthy memorials have attracted 
much popular notice, in the forms of indeterminate tradition, and 
wild romantic legend. 

The wondering peasant has ever shewn a fondness for attri- 
buting snch monuments to the Danes ; and many antiquarian 
writers have been contented with echoing tiie opinion of the pea- 
santry. But it would appear that the vulgar apprehension oa 
this subject is founded upon floating traditions, which, though 

X 2 curious. 


curious, are in most instances delusive. It is probable that tTie 
terror conveyed to tlie English by tite predatory inroads of th« 
Danes, was so deeply impressed, that it has descended, in re* 
verberations, even to aG;es near the present; and thence has pro* 
ceeded a habit of ascribing these melancholy emblems of death 
and desolation, indiscriminately, to the invaders once so much 

From 'whatever cause such traditional modes of appropriation 
have arisen, it is evident that they are frequently futile and de- 
ceptive. It has been already observed that the generality of 
tumuli in Britain, appear, on investigation, to have been raised 
by the Britons themselves. Every research, hitherto effected, 
assists in proving that the Danes, less than any other people 
connected with the former population of this country, have a 
claim to participate with the Briton iii his rude, but ponderous 
and impressive, house of sepulture. 

It is, however, certain that the Danes, In common with other 
northern nations, were accustomed to raise tumuli over the re* 
mains of the deceased. Many funeral barrows still exist in Den- 
mark. But the age of these is by no means accurately ascer- 
tained; as the native writers on the antiquities of that country 
are defective in legitimate and unequivocal intelligence.* 


• Mr. Gough presents the foHowing remarks on Danish modes of burial, 
and on the barrows remaining in that countrj : — " The practice of burning 
the bodies was introduced among the Danes by Odin, not long before the 
Christian aera. This age is called Bruna OllJ, or the age of burning; in 
which barrows were raised over the ashes, as well as afterwards over the 
tSodies themselves. In the succeeding period, called Hnigold, or HoeUt tiid, 
er the age of heights or conic hills, the practice of burning was n»t left off, 
though it had ceased before their expedition into Britain ; sad sooner, as a 
genernl custom. 

" The barrows in Denmark differ in size, roundnesi, various an4 distinct 
rows of stones. The ruder sort are of earth only, or for generals and officers 
wiih 01 e circle of stones round the base. In the more improved ages, they 
«4dcd lar^^er stones on the top and sides, as well as round the bottom; and 



We can scarcely suppose that these invaders po.<sessecl suffi- 
cient security and leisure to erect any of the larger barrows of 
Britain [works so laborious and stupendous !] while engaged 
in unremitting warfare with the more ancient possessors of the 
aoil ; and it is certain that we have no internal demonstra- 
tion of their having constructed s«ch tumuli, in contradiction 
to the opinion wliich may be thus formed on rational conjecture. 

Many antiquarian writers, relying implicitly on tradition, have 
ascribed more particularly to the Danes those small barrotes in 
(lusters which are found in several parts of this island. Such 
tumuli have formed objects of careful research with Mr. Douglas; 
and that gentleman has not discovered any document whatever to 
render it likely that they were raised by the Danes.* The same 
writer observes " that the Danes, in the 7th century, adopted 
Runic inscriptions on their places of sepulture; and as these bar- 
rows in clusters evidently attest that the inhabitants existed in 
a peaceable state, there would have been a great probability that 
some remains of paganism, with their inscriptions, would occa- 
sionally have been discovered. "f None such, however, have re- 
warded the utmost industry of the examiner. 

It is, indeed, a surprisiiig circumstance in the annals of anti- 
quarian pursuits, that where so much has been surmised, and tra- 
ditionally reported to exist, so little should have been discovered 
to illustrate the propriety of conjecture. 

In Mr. Wallace's Description of the Isles of Orkaey, it is 
said that " In the links of Tranahie, where the sand was blown 
away, were found graves, in one of which was a man lying, 
with his sword on the one hand and a Danish axe on the other." 
In similar graves were discovered combs, knives, aud often the 

X 3 bones 

•ome of the former inscribed. Those of »n oblong shape, and flatter, sur- 
rounded by iarge stones (the biggest at the end) Worniius considered as re- 
ceptacles of 4 whole family." Sepulchral Mons. Vol. II. p. 47 — 48. 
* Nenia Britannick, Faaim. -^ Ibid. p. 124, 


bones of dogs, which had been buried with the haman remains.* 
Such, probably, was the character of interments usual among 
the first Danish piratical invaders of Britain. 

It is observed by the author of Munimenta Antiqua, that, not- 
withstanding the great variety of diffuse traditional tales respect- 
ing the formation of barrows by the Danes, no tradition ascribes a 
barrow to any particular Danish king, except in the instance of 
Hubba, who is said to have been buried near the village of Ap- 
pledore, in Devonshire.f The sea, many years back, swept 
away this funeral mount, with all its vestigia. 

Few observations can be offered, relating to the marks by which 
it is supposed that the sepulture of this people in Britain may be 
distinguished. It will, however, be recollected that the Danes are 
confidently believed to have disused, as a general practice, the cu8> 
tom of burning the dead, before their expedition into this country ; 
althoDgh, in the instances of those deemed particular heroes, the 
body might probably be exposed to the operation of fire previous to 
burial. Such persons were heroes with their own party only, and 
were sanguinary spoliators in the esteem of discomfited opponents. 
Affectionate respect, if such a feeling may be attributed to ac- 
complices in rapine, therefore rendered its best tribute by placing 
fire beneath the deceased warrior's frame; thus removing it, by a 
destructive fiame, from the impotent vengeance of the aggrieved. 

Presuming on the correctness of the above remarks, J it will 
be obvious that where we find urns, containing ashes; or any 
vestiges of the human body, having undergone cremation ; we 


* Some barrows in the Links of Skail were opened, about the year 1772, 
under tlie direction of Sir Joseph (then Mr.) Banks ; but not any vestige was 
discovered which enabled the examiner to attribute tiie interment to any par- 
ticular people. See Archaeol. Vol. III. p. Sl76. 

t Manimenta Antiqaa, Vol. I. p. 269; and Beauties for Deronshire, p. 

J For an illustration of their probable correctness, see Nenia Britannica, 
Section Observations, with the authorities there qsoted j and Cough's Sepnl- 
cbtal Mons. Vol. II. Introductiua. 


must entertain great diffidence in ascribing the sepulchral deposit 
to Danish hands. According to Worinius, the Danes, in their 
own country, when they buried in large barrows, placed all the 
most valuable ornaments of the deceased in the vicinity of his 

After what has been said in previous sections, it is nearly 
superfluous to observe that battle barrows were probably raised 
fcy the Danes, in common with other nations. Such emphatical 
monuments of desolating contention [which call forth a shudder 
of unmixed repugnance, now that time has caused the victor*s 
laurels to wither, and his harvest of plunder is all consumed] are 
to be seen in many parts of this country ; and, in frequent in- 
stances, they were undoubtedly raised by the Danes, after bat- 
tles with the rival Saxons and harassed Britons. 

It has been already suggested that not any authenticated se- 
pulchral monument of the Anglo-Danes, subsequent to their con- 
version to Christianity, is now existing. 

On the Coins of the Anglo-Danes. — The coinage of 
the Anglo-Danes requires only a short notice. The English 
penny continued to be the standard coin of the realm,* and each 
of the Anglo-Danisli sovereigns issued coins. Those of Canute 
are of the most frequent occurrence. It is observed by Mr. 

X 4 North, 

* It may be observed in this place, that the series of English pennies ez« 
tends, almost without any failure, from the reign of Egbert to the present 
time. Mr. Pinkerton remarks that the " Norman conquest made no altera- 
tion in the English penny, the only coin. William the First, even bears, 
sometimes, the same reverses with Harold the Usurper, his predecessor. 
Tlie old English penny, or An^licus, was a coin celebrated all ov«r Europe 
in the middle ages. In neatness of fabric, such as then was, and in purity 
of metal, it is superior even to Italian and French coins of the period." Pin- 
kerton on Medals, Vol. II. p. 66. Old Englisli historians inform us that 
the lay barons had the privilege of coining. But there are not any coins dis- 
tingaished by a baronial title* or peculiar mark, although the coins of En- 
glish bishops are frequently seen. 


North, *' that no king that ever reigned in England coined in 
more different places than Canute. Keder gives 26 cities and 
towns. Whether this proceeded from the pride of the Dane, or 
was granted to many towns to procure their affection, cannot be 
determined. Tlie privilege of coining was not quite free and un- 
paid for." 

Mr. Gough, who presents the above quotation, adds that the 
greatest number of coins of Canute extant iu any cabinet, was 
formerly believed to be those enumerated by Keder, amounting 
to seventy. " In the summer of 1774, however, above three 
hundred came to light, with many silver fibulie, in two cow- 
Iiorns, in a great moss about two miles from Kirkwall, in Ork" 
ney. The bulk of them became the property of Thomas Dundas, 
Esq. of Castlecary ; and 42 specimens of the varieties as to place, 
•were engraved in a Catalogue of Coins of Canute, published on 
that occasion/'* 

The coins of Harold the First, and Hardicanute, are of c on- 
siderable rarity. Specimens of the coins issued by each of the 
Anglo-Danish monarcbs are engraved in the Saxon tables of 
Hickes, Gibson, and Gough, already noticed under the head of 
Anglo-Saxon Coins. 

It has been observed in a former page,t that the Danes intro< 
duced to England the two denominations of money termed the 
Mark and the Ora ; and the relative value of these representa- 
tives of coin is explained in the same place. 

In concludii\g my brief hints towards information concerning 
the coins of the ancient Britons ; the Romans in connexion with 
Britain; the Anglo-Saxons ; and the Anglo-Danes; it is neces- 
sary to observe that not any coin bearing the head of a WelSh 
prince, or which can in any respect be supposed to have 


* Article Sazou Coins, Cough's Edition of Canidea's BritaDoia, p. 1 17. 
t Vide Ante, p. 285—286. 


issued from the miat of a prince of that country, is known to be 

This is a curious and surprising circumstance, as it would ap- 
pear from many of their laws that Welsh princes, coeval with the 
Anglo Saxon dynasty, did actually coin money. It is observed 
by Dr. Henryf that, " by one of these laws, the coining of money 
is declared to be one of the four unalienable prerogatives of the 
kings of Wales;! a ridiculous declaration if it was known that 
no money was ever coined in Wales. The kings of England im- 
posed a certain tribute on the kings of Wales, part of which was 
to be paid in money ; which they never would have done if they 
had known that these princes had no money of their own. The 
salaries of the great officers in the courts of the kings of Wales 
were paid in money ; and the prices of all commodities weru 
rated, by the laws of Wales, in money. § 

" The smallness of the number of these Welsh coins ; the in- 
juries of time, wars and revolutions; and the long subjection of 
that country to the crown of England; are the true reasons why 
all these coins have disappeared, though it is not impossible that 
some of them may yet be discovered." 

Although such remarks appear to be the best that can be pre- 
sented, they are certainly far from satisfactory. That money 
circulated in Wales, at an early period, is evident from the 
Welsh laws; and it will be an extremely interesting occurrence 
tp the numismatic antiquary, when a coin shall be found, to 


• With this fact collectors are well acquainted. For a reoiark, proving 
the justice of such an assertion, see Archsol. Vol. I. p. 282. 

^ History of Britain, 8vo. edit Vol. IV. p. 283—4. 

J Leges Wallictc, p. 7J. 

$ In addition to these remarks of Dr. Henry, it may be observed that " the 
Welsh laws of Hoel dda use punt, or pund, as one of their terms for money. 
They bavei also, the word ariant, which means literally silver, and ceiniaugi 
both these seem to imply a penny. See Wotton's Leges Wallicai, p. 16, 20, 
21, 27. Tlieir veord for a coin is bath." Turner'* Anglo-SaxoHs, Vol. It 
p. 135. 

314 iNtRODUCTidN. 

prove that such money really issued from the mint of A nttiTe 


The death of Edward the Confessor, without issue, led to dis- 
putes concerning a succession to the English crown, which ren- 
dered the country once more an attractive field of enterprize to 
bold and ambitions neighbours. A powerful prince, equally OOU" 
ragebus and aspiring, was close at hand ; and he established, by 
the exercise of the sword, a new and lasting dynasty in another 
foreign line. 

As the settlement of the Normans in thb island, and the intro- 
duction ef their influence over manners, arts, and laws, are sub- 
jects of great interest with the topographer, it may not be super- 
fluous to remind the reader, in this place, of the origin and pre« 
vious circumstances of these successful invaders, — the latest 
contributors to the parent-stock of the present population of 

Shortly after the commencement of the 10th century, Rollo, or 
Rolfr, a Norwegian chieftain, joined in the invasions to which 
France was then subject from the ferocious tribes of the north, 
and conducted his assault with so much bravery and skill that 
Charles the Simple, who then reigned in France, appeased his 
hostility by ceding to him a considerable tract ef country. The 
district thus presented as a peace offering to his ambition, con- 
sisted of " all the maritime country from the river Andelle, three 
leagues ab«ve Rouen, to the Epte, which passes by Goumay, 
Gisors and St. Clair; and also the country beyond the Seine. 
This [cession comprehended all that country between the sea, 
Bri ttany, and the Maine."* 


• Tnrner's Hi»t. of the Anglo-SaxoWi, Vol. L p. 462—3; and the autho- 
Yity there quoted. 


ItoUo uow embraced the Cliristian religion ; and bis power and 
reputation were so considerable, that the king bestowed on bim 
his daughter in marriage. The territory relinquished in favour 
of this successful adventurer, shortly assumed the name of Nor- 
mandy\ and, at no distant date, became conspicuous for the 
good-order, as well as the energy and persevering spirit, of its 
inhabitaats. Rollo, indeed, proved eminently worthy of his ex- 
altation. He augmented the population of his infant state, by 
inviting foreigners to settle there; and enacted wise laws for 
their security, and for the encouragement of industry among 
every class of his subjects. Intent on founding a durable go- 
vernment over a civilized and improving people, he likewise re- 
built the cities and the churches whicb had been reduced to a 
state of ruin by the previous ravages of his idolatrous followers. 

Influenced by so wise and benignant a genius, the inhabitants 
of Normandy gradually quitted their barbarous propensities and 
iaanners. In succeeding generations they emulated the polish of 
their paramount neighbours; and appear to have taken pride in 
being accounted Frenchmen, while they sedulously cultivated an 
affinity to that people in language and customs. 

Rollo, the founder of this provincial government, died in the 
year 9-31; and, after four intermediate reigns, William, des- 
tined to conquer England, acceded to the ducal throne. 

On the death of Edward the Confessor,, William, Duke of 
Kormandy, preferred a claim to the Anglo-Saxon sceptic, in op- 
position to Harold, the son of Godwin; who took advantage of 
his residence in England at the time of the king's decease, and 
ascended the throne. The families of both competitors were 
connubially allied to the late monarch; and both had been ad- 
mitted by him to habits of familiarity. William, who had en- 
tertained him in Normandy, and had visited him in England on 
most friendly terms, asserted that he had received a direct nomina- 
tion as his successor. But the sword,and not a claim founded on pro- 
mise, or testamentary appointment, was calculated to advance his 
object; and to this decisive tribuaal be promptly apf^aled. 



The progressive circomstances, and the final event, of the 
battle of Hastings, are too yteM known for repetition. This me< 
morable battle, unquestionably the most important that ever took 
place on British ground, was fought on the 14th of October, 
1066; and was rendered so determinate in result, by the death 
of Harold, and by the subsequent inertion of the great majority 
of the English, that William was crowned, at Westminster, on 
the Christmas-day of the same year. Without entering into poli- 
tical calculations concerning causes and effects, it is, at any rate, 
pleasing to view a great revolution produced with so little blood- 
shed, in an age prodigal of human life when ambition was weighed 
against mercy. 

It would be trite to expatiate largely on the importance of the 
events attendant on the triumphant accession of William to the 
crown of England. Every section in the history of Britain for 
many succeeding ages, whether civil, military, or religious; 
whether appertaining to arts, customs, or manners ; is affected 
by this great era in our annals, either through immediate or re- 
lative operation; and, inmost instances, assuredly in a benefi- 
cial way. Contemplated in a general and national point of view, 
the Norman conquest introduced to this country a spirit of com- 
merce, by facilitating the approach to continental markets, and 
by conducting foreign merchants to our exchange. To the upper 
classes it imparted a degree of politeness, before unknown or dis- 
dained ; and, amongst every division of the people, it renovated 
habits of piety, which had become dormant in the iron ages of 
civil commotion and sanguinary rapine. In the government of 
William we see an efficiency of ruling power, so wisely though^ 
severely knit together, that all parties are united by interest in 
the support of the throne. 

The effects of the conquest on such circumstances as are pre- 
sumed to be of leading interest with the reader of the present 
work, are numerous and truly important. The great accession 
to our stock of national architecture, will be noticed in the 
pages which present remarks on the mtst conspicuous ves- 


tiges of buildings constructed by the Anglo-Normans. In this 
place^ some attention is required to the chauges produced by the 
new government in the state of society. 

The prevailing feature in the innovations effected by the Nor- 
man sway, will be found to consist in the introduction of the 
system of Feudal tenure. In regard to those laws which regu- 
late the familiar occurrences of life, and are unconnected with 
the tenure of what may be termed natural property [the soil and 
its inartificial appurtenances] the conqueror usually suffered the 
enactments of Saxon legislation to remain in force. Some laws 
promulgated at this period are evidently of Norman origin, and 
were introduced to England by the invaders, in attention to their 
previous habits of life; while other novel enactments appear to 
have been purely the offspring of temporary conviction and expe- 
diency. But, independent of the system of feudal tenure, the 
principal changes effected in the morals and manners of the peo- 
ple were produced by example, rather than by the coercion or in- 
citement of legal interference.* 

TXie Feudal System, by which term is to be understood a form 
of tenure that admits the idea of the sovereign being proprietor 
of all the lands in his dominions, and the holders under which 
are, accordingly, subject to the payment or performance of cer- 
tain direct services to the crown; existed, as to effect, in the 


• For proofs of the correctness of these remarks, see Turner's Hist, of Eng- 
land, Vol. I ; and Bawdwen's Introduction to tike translation of Domesday. 
But it will be observed, that if most of the laws remained the same, the 
form of judicial proceedings experienced considerable alteration. — As the 
judges and pleaders in the courts of England were now almost invariabljr 
Normans^ the Norman, or French, language was both spoken and written 
in law-transactions. — As a circumstance of some curiosity, it may be recol- 
lected that the confirmation of deeds and charters by senlt of wax, impressed 
on the document, or appended to it, was now commonly substituted lor the 
Anglo-Saxon mode of using the sign of the cross, as a confirmatory appendage 
to the subscription of a witness. — See some remarks on th* modes of sub- 
scribing to Anglo-SaxoQ charters, and other instruments, Arcbseol. Vol. X. 
p. 232. 


time of the Anglo-Saxons; since roost proprietors of land were 
then bound, as such, to attend the king in military expeditions, 
besides rendering other minor duties. When the wealth and 
power of the country were entirely vested in the land-liolders, 
and the science of government was in its in£stncy, an exaction 
of military service, proportioned to the extent of landed pro- 
perty, was, perhaps, necessary to the safety and well-being of th* 
■tate. But even this groundwork and foundation of feudal cus* 
toms, was, in some instances, relinquished by the Anglo-Saxon 
kings; and , the minor burthens to which laml was subjected 
under their sway, were ehiefly such as were essential to public 
welfare; namely, assistance in the constructing and repairing of 
three kinds of buildings: bridges; fortresses; and defensive 
walls. The above three services have been termed by later 
writers the irinoda necetsitas. — William the first increased the 
duties, and directed their effect more peculiarly to the support of 
the crown, through various descending ramifications; thus com« 
pleting the system of feudal tenure, according to the mode of the 
duchy over which he had ruled from childhood. 

Unhappily, this rigid establishment of feudal customs was a 
matter that, at the time of its imposition, required little discus- 
sion among the English. The numerous forfeitures consequent 
on the battle of Hastings, and various subsequent but partial 
revolts, placed a great proportion of the lands of England in 
the hands of the conqueror; and the possessions thus revolving 
to the crown were bestowed,, with tyrannous munificence, ou 
William's Norman followers.* 


* The coDqueror appears to have bestowed on the Earl of Mortaia 793 
manors ; on the Bishop of Baieux 439 manors ; and on many other Nor- 
mans, possessions almost equally extensive. Unless we suppose that these 
|;reat lords possessed merely a paramount seigniory over many of the manors 
entered as theirs in the record of Domesday ; and thence were entitled to no 
profits from such estates, except the military service of the under-tenant, 
wb«a tli^y accompanied the king in his wars, and the wardship of minot 



It is observed by Blackstone, that the iutroduclion of feudal 
lenures into England by King William "does not seem to have 
been effected immediately after the conquest, nor by the mere 
arbitrary will and power of the conqueror; but to have been 
gradually established by the Norman barons, and others, in such 
forfeited lands as they received from th« gift of the conqueror, 
and afterwards universally consented to by the great council of 
iiie nation, long after his title was established."* Whether 
this statement be entirely correct or not, it is unquestionable 
that the institution of military feudal services, according to the 
Norman mode, promised, in the early simplicity of the design, 
to afford a strong mean of national defence, with little attendant 
penalty or inconvenience; and it was, therefore, agreed to by a 
great council convened for that purpose. 

But in after-ages, when property passed from the bands of 
those who willingly submitted to the feudal yoke, and when suc- 
ceeding monarchs took an inordinate advantage of their preroga- 
tive, the establishment of feudal tenure, with its various ser- 
vices and prestations, was found to be a grievance of incalculable 
magnitude. Nor were the calamities of this system confined to 
those who held directly of the crown. They extended to all. 
classes which possessed landed property ; for the baron exacted 
from his vassals the same duties in the limited sphere of his own 
estate, which himself rendered to royalty ; and even the vassali 
of the baron sometimes granted subinfeudations, in strict atten- 
tion to the same plan. Thus, in its involutions, the system of 
feudal tenure inflicted a degrading taint of slavery upon the landed 
proprietor of every rank, which, although lessened in the reiga 
of John, was, perhaps, finally abolished only at the great revo- 
IntioD of 1688. 

la this state of society, it was natural that many sighs should 


beirs ; their wealth and power must have beea iaordiaate, beyond all con* 
parison with disproportionate rauk in any other age. 

* Blackstone's Comment. Vol. II. p. 48. 


be heaved after the comparative liberty enjoyed under the Angto' 
Saxon raonarchs. But these unavoidable aspirations were con" 
fined to the classes above noticed ; to those who had a share, by 
deed, in the property of their native soil. No sigh was due 
from the lower part of the community, which constituted its 
great bulk. They were abject and despised under the Saxons; 
and the Normans could treat them no worse. 

The penalties inflicted by the complete establishment of the 
feudal system were severe; but many of its forms and ceremo- 
nials probably imparted a real benefit to society, at this dreary 
juncture in the annals of Britain, by encouraging a competition 
in polish of manners and appearance, through the medium of 
periodical public solemnities. The vigour of the government, 
the growth of commerce, and the increase of social habits, were 
likewise favourable to the cultivation of art and science. Learn- 
ing new arose from the cloud by which it had been loQg op- 
pressed. William the First is celebrated as an encourager of 
literature; and his wish to advance the interests of letters must 
have been greatly facilitated by the numerous monastic establish- 
ments, which were founded in the years shortly succeeding hia 
accession to the crown. Aided by the affluent leisure of such 
societies, learning, although confined almost exclusively to the 
clergy, experienced a revival in this reign, from which it never 
afterwards sank to entire neglect. 

The manners of the superior classes were much altered at this 
period, and were certainly raised a step in refinement and res- 
pectability, by the spirit of Chivalry which the Normans intro- 
duced to our island. However fantastical in some points of ope- 
ration, this animating principle involved lessons of morality, and 
inculcated a high sense of honour, which must have greatly as- 
sisted in humanizing the disposition of a people accustomed, al- 
most beyond the reach of tradition, to view a prostrate foe as the 
destined victim of the sword, and to connect the idea of blood- 
shed with that of rapine. The pomp of arms attendant on the 
pursuits of chivalry, and the romantic devotion for the fair sex 



evinced by those who aspired after its distinctions, may appear 
trivial to the phlegmatic examiner of history; but they were, as- 
suredly, of great importance in stimulating the youth to warlike 
habits, and in softening their temper in the hour of spoliation. 
The recollection of these scenes, so fanciful, and gallant in dis- 
play, may sometimes occur when we contemplate the rugged 
fragments of a Norman castle ; and may, at least, bestow a harm- 
less prism of animation on the deserted neighbourhood. 

In the same page with chivalry may be noticed the trial by 
Judicial combat, a mode of determining differences introduced 
to England at a similar period by the Normans. According to 
the tenour of this irrational appeal to Heaven for an immediate 
manifestation of its omniscience, the person worsted in legal 
duel was pronounced guilty, by supposed divine decision; and, 
if he survived, was subjected to the penalty affixed by human 
laws to hiy crime. As such a prompt, mysterious, and martial 
mode of trial was well suited to the superstitious, yet bold, cha- 
racter of the age, it soon grew into public esteem, and was not 
only resorted to in cases of alleged treachery, or military default, 
but became a frequent practice in civil disputes. 

This solemnity was performed in the presence of the king, if 
the combatants were immediate vassals of the crown; or, other- 
wise, in that of the baron to whom the contending parties owed 
homage. If the accuser were vanquished, he was liable to the 
same punishment which, on a contrary issue, would have fallen 
upon the defendant; but a discretionary power of mitigating, or 
remitting, this penalty, formed a part of the sovereign's preroga- 
tive. In civil cases, the victor in the duel was the gainer of the 

Many persons, such as priests; the sick and mutilated; 
the young under twenty, and the old above sixty years of age; 
were exempted from the necessity of resorting to this mode 
of decision. But all the exempted parties had Ihe option of em- 
ploying champions to light in their behalf, and many adopted so 
strange a mode of substitution, contented to receive an indication 

Y 0£ 


of the will of Heaven through the wounds, or safety, of a person 
interested in the case only hy the payment which he received for 
the hazard of his blood. 

One of the most memorable events in the reign of William the 
Conqueror, as it relates'to a gratification of the inquisitive spirit 
of future ages, and iu some instances still affects the tenure of 
property, was the compilation of the record termed Domesday ;* 
which was begun iu the year 1080, and completed in the year 

In my notice of the customs and the legal code of the Anglo- 
Saxons, I have reminded the reader that a book of this nature, 
since lost, was compiled, about the year 900, under the direc- 
tion of King Alfred. The loss of the survey effected by order 
of that great king and wise legislator, is a matter of unavoidable 
regret with the antiquary. The record made in the reign of 
William the First, is still extant ; and from this invaluable source 
we obtain the first authentic account of the political divisions of 
England, and of the real state of the face of the country, in the 
latter Anglo-Saxon and in the early Anglo-Norman ages. The 
conditions of society, and various particulars respecting the man-_ 
ners of the people, may likewise be collected from the same au- 

Tiie legal utility of this record, in many ages following the 
commencement of the Anglo-Norman dynasty, must have been 
incalculably great: and still " what manor is ancient demesne, 
and what is not, is determinable by Domesday alone.^f Itv 
value, as an historical document, with the enquirer into the de- 
grees of society and their customs; the political divisions of 
England ; the aspect of the country ; and numerous statistical 
particulars, in the 11 th century; cannot be too highly appre- 
ciated at the existing period. | 

*■ The word Domesda; is of Saxon original, and signifies the book of judi- 
cial verdict — Domesday Book illustrated by Kelham, p. 9. 

+ Ibid, p. 7. after Burrow's Reports, Vol. II. p. i048. 

t Some further account of the Record called Doraesdaj it give* in th* 
Ziit of Books appended to this " Introduction." 



The pernicious act of King William the First, in separating 
the ecclesiastical and the civil courts, is a circumstance of so much 
influence in topographical history, that it re(iuires a brief notice 
in this place. It is well known that every baron, during the 
early feudal ages, possessed the privilege of dispensing judgment 
to the tenants within his own domain, even to the dreadful extent 
of iuflicting capital punishment. Prelates, abbots and priors, 
who held baronies of the crown, were, likewise, invested with 
the same power. 

la addition to these local and peculiar seats of justice, each 
county had its court, over which the earl of that district pre- 
sided; for the title of earl then involved official duties, both 
military and civil. In reward of the exercise of his judicial capa- 
city in the court of his county, the earl received the tldrd penny 
of all the dues, amerciaments and profits there arising.* This 
was necessarily a court of great importance. The bishop of the 
diocese sat with the earl, and all the principal ecclesiastics and 
freeholders of the county were constrained to attend. 

But King William, about the year 105*5, separated the eccle- 
siastical from the civil part of these county courts, directing that 
all causes relating to the church should be tried in courts con- 
sisting entirely of the clergy. It has been observed, on the au- 
thority of Blackstone,t that, in consequence of this regulation, 
" the crown and mitre wore set at variance. The ecclesiastical 
courts, by putting themselves under the immediate protection of 
the pope, formed the clergy into a separate state under a loreign 
sovereign; which was productive of infinite mischief and dis- 

The ecclesiastical courts now erected were three in number: — 
the archdeacon's ; the bishop's court, or consistory ; and the 
archbishop's court, beyond which an appeal was permitted to 
the pope. 

Y 2 The 

• Vide Seldeu's Titles of Honour, &c. 
f Blackstoiie's Comment. Book 3. c. 5. 


The evils produced by this separation of the religious and civil 
authorities were felt through many succeeding ages, in the viola* 
tions of sioeial justice committed with impunity by the dissolute 
part of the clergy, and in the interdicts, excommunications, and 
other censures, imposed by the courts formed of ecclesiastics. 

The modes of tenure introduced at the era oMhe Norman con- 
quest, or growing into use as consequences of the system of go> 
vernment, and regulation of property, then adopted, involve seve* 
ral terms which demand observation. Such are the words honour 
and Barony, concerning the exact nveaning of which a consider- 
able misapprehension often prevails. 

It is remarked by Mr. Madox, in Baronia Anglica, that, " In 
ancient times, the word Honor usually signified the lordship or 
fee of Sin earl, and the lordship or fee of a baron. But, in pro- 
cess of time, honor and barony came to be used as words of the 
same import. An honor, then, was the fee, or seigneury, of an 
carl, or baron; relieving of the crown of England,"* 


• Baronia Aiiglica, p. 2. — In the reign of Henry the Eighth a new species 
•f A«n our was created, in the instance of certain manors belonging to the 
crown. These were the raannrs of Ampthill, HamptcH Court, and Grafton, 
But although they might, by the exercise of the royal power, acquire some 
uf the properties of an honour, in being composed of several manors united 
together, and possessing a capital seat ; yet thej were incorrectly styled 
honours, as they had not prcviousK constituted baronies, or the capital seats 
of baronies. It is observed by Madox (Baron. Angli. p. 9.) " that the essen- 
tial and distinguishing property of an honor, vested in the king, was to be a 
Barotty etcheated;" which was not the case with the above-named manors, 
and they were consequently nominal, rather than proper, honours. — The ex- 
istence of other nominal honours, which partake itilMess of the original mean- 
ing of the term, is noticed and explained in the following passage of Black- 
atone (Cumraent. Vol. II. p. 90 — 91, 8vo. edit.) "In the early times of our 
legal constitution, the king's greater barons, who had a large extent of ter- 
ritory, held under the crown, granted out frequently iiiialler manors to in- 
ferior persons, to be holden of themselves; which do, therefore, now con- 
tinue to be held under a superior lord, who is called, in such cases, the lord 

* paramount 


In speaking concerning baronies^ we should hold distinctly in 
Temembrauce that the same word is sometimes used to express 
two different circumstances of possession; viz. the land-barony 
and the titular barony, la addition to what is said above, con- 
cerning the fonner, it may be added from Madox, that " a Land- 
honor, or barony, is so called because it was annexed and united 
to land. It was bounded by a determinate extent of ground, like 
as a manor, liberty, or ferme, was bounded, 

" There were in England certain honors which were oftea 
called by Norman, or other foreign names ; that is to say, some- 
times by the English, and sometimes by the foreign name. This 
happened when the same person was lord of an honor iuNori- 
mandy, or some other foreign country, and also of an honor in 
England.'' Mr. Madox mentions, as an instance of this prac- 
tice, that " the Earl of Britauny was lord of the honor of Bri- 
tanny, in France, and also of the honor of Richmond, in Eng- 
land; whence, the honor of Richmond was sometimes called by 
the foreign name, the honor of Britanny, or the Honor of the 
Earl of Britanny." The recollection of this practice will often 
be found useful by the reader of the '* Beauties of England.'* 

The Titular baronies oi i\\\s country are well described in the 
following paragraph, which, likewise, presents some conjectures 
concerning their origin and ancient characteristics: " The ori- 
ginal and aatiquity of baronies have occasioned great inquiries 
among our English antiquaries. The most probable opinion 
seems to be, that they were the same with our present lords of 
manors; to which the name of court baron [which is the lord's 
court, and incident to every manor] gives some countenance.* 

Y 3 It 

paramount over all these manors; and liis &^\gnniy 'm frequtntly termed an 
honour, not a manor j especially if it hath belonged loan ancient feudal 
baron, or hath been at anj time in the hands of the crown." 

• " Lords of manors, who had granted to others, by subinfeudation, part 
of that estate which they held of the king, would necessarily be barons ; but 
,U does not follow, conversely, that a baron was of necessity a lord of a 

manor ; 


It may be collected from King John's magna charta, that origi- 
nally all lords of manors, or barons, that held of the king in 
capite, had seats in tlie great council, or parliament: till, about 
the reign of that prince, the conflux of them became so large 
and troublesome, that the king was obliged to divide them, and 
summon only the greater barons in person; leaving the small 
ones to be summoned by the sheriff, and [as it is said] to sit by 
representation in another house; vyhich gave rise to the separa- 
tion of the two houses of Parliament. By degrees, tlje title 
came to be confined to the greater barons, or lords of Parliament 
only ; and there were no other barons among the peerage but 
such as were summoned by writ, in respect of the tenure of their 
lands or baronies, till Richard the Second first made it a mere 
title of honour, by conferring it on divers persons by his letters 

The spiritual lords, consisting of two archbishops and twenty* 
four bishops, are considered as holding certain ancient baronies 
under the king.. William the Conqueror changed the spiritual 
tenure of frank-almoign, or free alms, under which mitred eccle- 
siastics held their lands during the Anglo-Saxon dynasty, into 
the feudal tenure by barony. " This subjected their estates to 
all civil charges and assessments, from wiiich they were before 
exempt. But, in right of succession to those baronies^ which 
were unalienable from their respective dignities, the bishops, and 
abbots, were allowed their seats in the House of Lords."f 

In explanation of a term which often occurs when speaking of 
landed property subsequent to the Norman conquest, the reader 
may be reminded that, on the introduction of the feudal law in 


manor ; for the king's tenant, who retained all the estate granted bini, and 
alienated no part of it, would certainly be as complete a baron as a lord of 
.« manor." Vott. to Blackstone's Coniiptent. edit. 14th, by Edward Chris- 
tian, Esq. 

• Blackstone's Corainent. Vol. I. p. 399, 
f Ibid, p. 156. 


its full extent of rigour, the whole of the lands in this kingdoiin 
were divided into what were called knight's fees. This division 
obviously originated in the institution of tenure by knight's ser« 
▼ice. In constituting sucli a tenure, a certain portion of land 
was necessary, which was ter^ned a knight's fee. But the best 
writers differ as to whether the requisite fee of a knight was neces- 
sarily determinate in quantity, or otherwise. The measure of a 
knight's fee is said by Blackstone to have been estimated, in the 
third year of the reign of Edward the First, " at twelve plough- 
lands; and its value [though it varied with the times] in the 
reigns of Edward the First and Edward the Second, was stated 
at 20/. per annum."* 

On the contrary, Mr. Selden contends " that a knight's fee 
did not consist of land of a fixed extent, or value; but was as 
much as the king was pleased to grant upon the condition of 
having the service of one knight;" and this opinion is considered 
as the more probable by Mr. Christian, in a note on the above 
passage in the *' Commentaries." 

The service due from a person holding a whole fee by knight's 
service, consisted in attending his lord to the wars for forty days 
in every year, if called upon. In consequence of the subdivi- 
sions of property, we find frequent mention of the half, or frac- 
tional proportion of a knight's fee. In these cases the service 
due was divided between the participators in the land ; the person 
holding half a knight's fee performing twenty days service. — The 
number of knight's fees into which England was divided, is usu- 
ally believed to have been about sixty thousand. f 

On the Military Architecture of the Anglo-Nor- 
mans. — Although many fortified buildings of stone had been 

Y 4 raised 

• Blackstone's Comment. Vol. II. p. 62, and the authorities there quoted. 

t Vide Selden's Titles of Honour, &c. — For many remarks on the proba* 
ble number of knight's fees in Engliind, the reader is referred to Mad x's 
Baronia Anglica, Book I. Chap. 2. 


raised by Alfred and his successors^ the inadequacy of these to 
the defence of the country was obvious at the accession of Wil- 
liam the First; and by that warlike and politic king, the erection 
of additional castellated structures was constituted one of the 
first cares of his new government. The prodigious power vested 
in a conqueror's hands rendered his plan easy of execution. He 
not only built, by public aid, strong castles in the principal 
towns within the royal demesnes,* but stimulated the nobles whose 
possessions were derived from his pleasure, to construct similar 
fortresses on their respective estates; for the great object of his 
policy was necessarily directed to an effect of immediate opera- 
lion, — the security of the Anglo-Norman government against the 
discontents of his native English subjects. The evils arising 
from such a phklanx of strong holds, vested in barons who might 
not always be obedient to the crown, were to be felt at a future 

In this spirit of political intention he was imitated by his im- 
mediate successors; amongst whom William Rufus is said by 
fincient writers to have exceeded even his father in a fondness for 
erecting castles of defence. 

As the feudal system acquired strength, the number of castles 
increased ; and when the exigencies of the crown no longei- de- 
manded an augmentation of strong holds for the defence of the 
state, ambition amongst the barons acted as a sufficient induce-> 
jaeut. Disputes concerning a succession to the crown likewise 
favoured this increase of defensible retreats. Whilst the dignity 
of the throne was tarnished by party -conflict, and the interests of 
the people lay quite neglected, numerous castles were raised by 
the pavtizans of each contending faction. — The troubled reigo of 


* Royal castles, from the earliest period at which such fortresses are recog- 
nised, weie erected and preserved in repair at the public expense. Tt will 
l>e recollected that this duty formed one of the three obligations imposed 
vpon all lands in tlie Anglo-Saxon times, usually termed the trino4a jtectt^ 


Stephen is the era most couspicuous for the erection of such for- 
tresses, although less architectural skill is displayed in his build> 
ings than in those of many other ages. 

In the present section^ our attention in ill be confined to such 
castles as strictly evince a style introduced by the Normans; 
and will, therefore, be limited to structures erected shortly aAer 
the conquest. For more complex modes of military architecture 
were speedily adopted, which may be noticed with greater pro- 
priety ill future pages. 

While discussing this part of our subject, it appears desirable 
to adopt, in some measure, the arrangement of an antiquarian 
writer whose works are of great utility in such investigations, 
if the authenticated poitiou be carefully separated from that which 
partakes of fancy, or hypothesis. Mr. King, in the " Sequel to 
his Observations on Ancient Castles,"* divides the determinate 
military architecture of the Anglo-Normans into two classes; 
that which they practised in such structures as were raised by 
William the First, for the purpose of immediate defence; and 
the more artificial mode which was afterwards introduced, and is 
supposed to have been carried to its greatest perfection, by Bishop 

Concerning the first Anglo-Norman style, it is observed by 
the same antiquary, "that the Normans, magnificent as they 
were, seem, at first, to have entered Ibis country with ideas of 
fortification quite dififerent from, and inferior to, those of the 
Saxons ; though they afterwards adopted the latter, and even 
greatly improved upon them. 

" Their first castles, and their first style of architecture, are 
almost every where to be distinguished. Descended from the 
Danes, they still retained Danish ideas, and considered the high 
mount as the most essential part of a fortress. The high insulated 
hill, as the basis of a rovnd tower, is characteristic of all the 
Jirst Norman castles. "f 


• 4rcbaeol, Vol. VI. t Arcbaol. Vel. VI. p. 257, 


la illustration of the correctness of these remarks, may be 
noticed remains of such structures at York* Lincoln,^ Tickhilt 
in Yorkshire,! and Tunhridge.\ These examples are selected, 
as each has afforded a subject of observation to the author above 
quoted ; but vestiges of other castles, possessing the same gene* 
ral characteristics, occur in different parts of this country, and 
are described in respective portions of the " Beauties of England 
and Wales." 

The keep of Lincoln castle, which was built by order of Wil- 
liam the First, in the early part of his reign, was nearly rounds 
and was situated on a high artificial mount, the summit of which 
it almost entirely covered. In the instance of York, the keep 
was excluded from the castle area; but here, at Lincoln, "the 
walls enclosing the whole circuit of the fortress were made to 
ascend on each side the slope, and to join to the great tower; 
which was, in other respects, in consequence of the steepness of 
the hill, and its talus, equally inaccessible, both from within the 
eastle>area and from without, except by a steep flight of steps, 
and a draw-bridge over a ditch.** 

It is observable that in this, and other fortifications constructed 
at nearly the same period, the chief reliance for defence was placed 
on the massy character of the walls, and the steepness of the 
artificial hill on which the great tower was raised ; for, in seve- 
ral instances, the principal portal is found level with the ground, 
and not elevated on the side of the wall, as was the practice of 
ages better skilled in the science of defence. 

Besides the keep [or citadel of the fortress, containing the 
rooms ©f state residence] there was at Lincoln, another tower, of 
smaller proportions, also placed on an artificial mount, and com- 
Bunicating with the former by means of a covered way. The 


• Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 236. 
t '—— Lincolnshire, p. 647. 

% Yorkshire, p. 839, 

§ . Kent, p. liae. 


•titer walls of the castle enclose a very large area ; but so many 
alterations have been effected by later ages, in these parts of the 
works, that such vestiges as are really of an early Norman date 
cannot be distinguished with accuracy. 

Although it has been deemed expedient to divide variations 
of the style introduced by the Anglo-Normans into determi- 
nate classes, it must not be imagined that either of those dis- 
tinct modes had a precise and definite term of prevalence. A de- 
fective fashion might find imitators after a better manner was in- 
troduced ; and, in regard to these Norman plans of military archi- 
tecture, if we suppose that which was first used to have been the 
chosen practice of the Normans in their own country, we may 
readily believe that chieftains, newly settling in England, in an 
after-age, might bring with them a national partia,lity, and might 
raise structures in the first Anglo-Norman mode, in neglect of 
the improvements introduced since that fashion was rejected by 
the majority. 

Indeed, no attempt can be more futile than that of seeking to 
ascertain the exact age of any pile, whether religious, military, 
.or domestic, merely from its agreement in certain particulars of 
architectural disposal with other buildings, concerning which the 
date of erection is positively ascertained. There are reasons for 
supposing that such a method of calculation may with more safety 
be applied to the early and middle ages of English history tbaa 
to those more recent ; but fancy, caprice, necessity, and many 
other inducements, must have caused deviations from the best 
and most frequent modes, in every era. 

Thus, many castles, erected at a date subsequent to the early 
part of the first William's reign, are found to display the manner 
noticed in the above pages as being introduced at that period. 
Among these may be mentioned the castle of Tunbridge, which 
appears to have been built after the completion of the record 
termed Domesday, and, probably, not before the time of Wil- 
liam Bufus. Yet we here view a retrocessive adoption of the 
style first msed by the Anglo-Normans j for the original keep, 



and principal part of the fortress, consisted of a spacious aod 
strong, oblong tower, situated on the summit of a big^h artificial 
mount. The additions made by succeeding builders,* together 
-with the dilapidations effected by the wear of ages, and the taste- 
less severity of persons through whose possession the estate has 
passed in modern times, have caused an inextricable confusion to 
prevail in regard to the outworks ; but it appears that the keep 
and depeadant area were originally protected by lines of massy 
wall, and deep ditches, which were supplied with water by skil- 
ful and laborious contrivances. 

It is the laudable practice of many popular antiquarian writers 
of the present day, to avoid an indulgence in hypothetical calcu- 
lation, and to adhere only to plain and unequivocal matter of fact. 
Such a mode of enquiry cannot be too highly commended, whil« 
it simply rests on the firm basis with which it commenced, and 
does not, in its progress, endeavour to discourage, by ridicule 
without argument, the efforts of the more excursive to illustrate 
doubtful circumstances by the rational aid of general analogy. 
The usual futility of attempts to ascertain precise dates of erec- 
tion, by an affinity of architectural arrangement, has been already 
pointed out. — It would, however, appear that we may with secu- 
rity place reliance on the above appropriation of style, as the 
dates of several buildings there noticed are ascertained on sound 
historical testimony. 

And with the same confidence we proceed to an examination of 
the secotid, or improved, Anglo-Norman style; for it is knowji 
that the fortifications of the castle of Rochester were begun under 
the direction of Bishop Gundulph, about the year 1088; and it is 
probable that the greater part was completed according to his 


• The tower of entrance i> tbc addition most worthy of notice. This is an 
rztensJTe bailding, flanked by round towers, and containing many spaciaus 
apartnieHts. From the character of its ornaments, it is supposed that this 
part oi the ca&tle was erected about the reign of John, or that of Henry the 
Third, and it forms an instance of the Gatehouse, which is ao distinguished^ 
feature in many castles constrwcted in the Middle age*. 


plans^ and under his care. The improvements which had taken 
place in military architectnre are here obvious, and ef high 
interest. But it is not to be supposed that the whole were first 
introduced in this instance. Each had, unquestionably, been for 
some years in that progressive state which is incidental to works 
of art in their approach towards perfection; and relics of ante- 
rior and less refined efforts, similar as to intention, are probably 
• still to be noticed in several parts of England. 

Intent on raising such fortresses as might effectually supply a 
necessity long felt in Britain, and at once assist in defending the 
state against foreign and factious assailants. King William the 
First, and his successor, carefully selected persons most renowned 
for architectural skill, and directed their attention towards the 
construction of castles of defence. The peculiar talent of Gun- 
dulph, and the general character of the improvements which 
are ascribed to him, are well explained in the following pas- 

" Amongst other persons whom William employed and con- 
sulted in the advancement of his favourite plan, was Gundulph, 
Bishop of Rochester. This extraordinary genius began to reason 
with more acuteness upon the subject than any architect had done 
before: and determined to unite together all the excellencies of 
former structures, [both those of Alfred's castles, and those of the 
great round towers of his own countrymen:] and to add many 
new inveations; for the sake of increasing not only the security, 
but also the magnificence of these piles. His mode of building 
was immediately so greatly admired, and so soon came into 
fashion ; that although the prejudice in favour of the old plan, 
long continued amongst the Normans ; and many castles were 
still daily built according to it; yet many also, in the very 
same age, and even in the very same years, were erected on 

" He determined to get rid of the ankward labour of raising 
high artificial mounts, by way of defending the entrance and ap- 
proach to the keep ; despised the inconvenience of the central 



well, for the purpose of affording air^ and light, in the ronnd 
towers ; and saw many defects even in the great castles of Alfred ; 
especially in their want of inward defence to the loop holes in 
the lower apartments, and in the unguarded design of their great 
windows above. In short, to him appears clearly to be dae, the 
honor of the invention of the noble high elevated portal, so com- 
pleatly defended by draw- bridges, gates, and portcullises, [all 
placed in the most judicious manner] in lieu of the high mount; 
the invention of the mode of properly defending loop holes; the 
invention of wells, concealed in the walls, for the purpose of 
drawing up timbers ; the improvement of the manner in which 
galleries of communication were constructed in the walls; and 
other judicious devices, with regard to the situation of staircases, 
and an improved mode of constructing even the very dungeons. 

" The uoble proportions, and disposition of the state apart* 
ments, was also another excellence in Gundulph's keeps; as 
well as the stately mode of approach, and ascent to them."* 

The castle of Rochester is the latest effort of Bishop Gun- 
dulph in castellated architecture; and it presents a Hue and vene- 
rable instance of his skill, as the whole of the improvements 
known to have been introduced by him are here assembled in one 
impressive display. 

This castle is so amply described in the Beauties of England 
fbr Kent,f that a notice of its leading characteristics, as a stand- 
ard of comparison with the modes of other eras, must be all that 
is required in the present place. 

Rochester castle is situated near the brow of a natural emi* 
iience, which rises abruptly from the river Medway ; and its 
principal tower, or keep, is of extensive proportions, and of a 
quadrangular form. Thus situated, the river formed on one side 
a line of defence, without labour or expense. In other directions 


• Sequel to Observations on Ancient Castles, ilrchsol. Vol. VI. p. }95— <«. 
t Beauties for Kent, p. 623—628. 


the keep was secured by strong outworks and deep fossae; and 
had, around it, a large area for the use of the garrison. 

The outward walls formed an irregular parallellograra, of about 
300 feet in length ; and were strengthened by several square and 
round towers, embrazured, and provided with loop holes and 
machicolations. The shape of these towers was, however, not 
uniformly confined to the two modes noticed above ; as the re- 
mains of one that was of a semicircular form are still to be seen 
in the south-east angle of the outward walls ; and it would, in- 
deed, appear from many instances that the Anglo-Normans, gene- 
rally, did not adhere to any particular fashion in constructing th« 
towers of their outworks ; but introduced, in the same structure, 
the square, the round, and the polygonal.* 

The methods adopted for the protection of the garrison in time 
of close siege, and after the outworks should be taken, displayed 
many ingenious refinements on the science of defence. 

In regard to the exterior aspect of the great tower, or keep, 
there were on the ground-floor, no windows, and only a few loop ' 
holes; which were not much more than six inches square. The 
story above was, likewise, lighted merely by loop holes. But 
the third story, containing the rooms of state, was accommodated 
with " magnificent windows,** which, however, were placed high 
in the lofty apartments, for the purpose of security against wea- 
pons discharged from without. 

Various devices to mislead the assaults of an enemy, by de- 
ceptively exhibiting an appearance of exterior weakness, where, 
in fact, lay the greatest strength of the citadel, are conspicuous 
io this tower. But similar efibrts at deception are visible in cas- 

• The ou tu'oi-fct of Rocbestor caslle were certainly much injured, and are 
said by Holinshed " to have been thrown down," when the fortress was be- 
sieged in the reign of John. It is belieTcd, however, that they were restored 
according to the original design. Even if they were rebuilt in a different 
taste, such a circumstance does not «ffcct the propriety of tlie above assertion 
respecting the various shapes used by the Normans in minor towers of the 
tame structure. 


ties attribated by several writers to an earlier date; aud are sup- 
posed, by those authors, to have been invented by the Anglo- 

The dungeon for the reception of prisoners (that invariable and 
dreadful portion of every ancient castle in this country) was con- 
structed beneath the small square tower adjoining the body of the 
keep ; and was descended by means of a very narrow and steep' 
flight of steps, cut in the wall. Air was admitted to tliis dreary 
receptacle only by an aperture in the roof, which was secured 
with a falling, or trap-door; and it is likely that the prisoners 
were often introduced to their cell through that secret doorway, 
and were supplied with provisions through the same medium of 

The entrance to the keep was adapted to the double purpose of 
state and security, and consisted of a grand portal, at a con- 
siderable height from the ground ; which was ascended by a stair- 
case, that went partly round two of the fronts of the castle on the 
outside. Before this portal could be entered, there was a draw* 
bridge to be passed, and also a strong gate. Nor did the grand 
portal lead immediately to the keep, but was merely the entrance 
of a small adjoining tower, the whole of which might be demo- 
lished " without any material injury to the body of the castle." 
Beyond this tower, which acted as a kind of vestibule, was the 
real entrance to the keep; and both these portals were guarded 
by portcullises as well as by strong gates. There was no other 
mode of ingress or egress, except that aiforded by a small sally- 
port, or narrow doorway, situated directly under the drawbridge, 
at a considerable height from the ground : aud careful provision 
was made that in case the entrance thus strongly guarded should 
be forced, admission to the recesses of the keep should still be 
attained only with great difficulty and danger. 

There are, within the massy walls of this castle, three square 
wells, which open at the bottom on the ground-Hoor, and are car- 
ried to the top of the structure, having, in their ascent, branches 
of passage leading to galleries on the two upper floors. It is 



believed that such cellular passages within walls, first occur in 
castles constructed by Bishop Gundulph, or in attention to his 
designs; and the use for which they were intended has led to 
much conjecture and discussion. It has been hastily supposed 
by some persons that they were '' made merely for the purpose of 
drying the stone-work." But it is forcibly observed in reply, 
that they are much larger than would be necessary for such an in- 
tention, and " that they are, in fact, very ill-adapted to it, because 
they open inwards and not outwards/' Their real use cannot be 
ascertained beyond controversial limits. But, according to the 
most ingenious surmise which has hitherto been made towards 
their appropriation, they were designed " for the easy convey- 
ance of the great engines of war into the several apartments, and 
up to the top of the castle."* 

Such were the improvements introduced in the latter years of 
William the First, and in the early part of his successor's reign. 
Modes so judicious, at once combining an increase in the secu- 
rity and statelinessof a fortified residence, were necessarily adopt- 
ed by many of the powerful and discriminating. Several castles, 
evincing an imitation of Gundulph's methods, are described in the 
'i' Beauties of England." The following may be mentioned, as 
having chiefly engaged antiquarian notice : — Canterbury ; 
Dover; Ludlotv;i Richmond, in Yorkshire; ViHd Hedingham, 
in Essex.:!: 

1 must he allowed to repeat that, although the above classifi- 
cation of styles will be found, as 1 believe, to afford characteristi<;3 
of the majority of great castles erected shortly after the con(|uest, 
it is by no means descriptive of the whole of the castellated struc- 
tures raised in those years. A departure from the prevalent oul- 

Z lines 

• See arguments concerning ilie design of these passages, Archaeol. Vol. 
IV. p. 38^; ibid. Vol. VI. p. 296. 

1 Xwo views of Lndlow ca»ile are presented in the Beauties for Shrop- 

i The Beauties for Essex contain an engraved view of Hedinghaai 


lines of both modes, assuredly occurs in several remaining build- 
ings. But, still, the rise, and the frequent adoption in this 
country, of the two methods of military architecture mentioned 
above, are proved by the dates of the buildings there adduced as 
respective examples; and it will be seen, in the succeeding sec- 
tion, that the general principles of these two Anglo-Norman 
styles (the early and rude, and the later and improved,) prevailed 
through several ages, although many subordinate particulars 
underwent alterations, from changes in the modes of warfare, 
and an increased sociability and refinement of manners. 

The MiXEo, or Iruegumr, Military Architecture of 
THE Anglo-Normans. — The variable modes of castellation which 
grew into use with the military architects who succeeded to Bishop 
Gundulph and his strict imitators, admit of no definite classifica- 
tion, as to a marked style of defensive arrangement existing at a 
positive date, until we arrive at an age far distant,— the martial, 
but more polite, and prosperous reign of Edward the First. 

Although the methods of fortification, and the customs prevail- 
ing in regard to a disposal of the enclosed buildings, experienced 
no important change during those numerous intervening years, it 
was otherwise with such parts of the castellated structure as ad- 
mitted a display of minor architectural fashion. The introduc- 
tion of the pointed, or English style, supplanted in the princi- 
pal divisions, even of such harsh buildings, the circular-headed 
windows and doorways which had been so long in use; and it is, 
therefore, evidently desirable to apply the terra of Anglo-Nor- 
man to the majority of castellated, as well as religio||jiei buildings,, 
from the time of the Conquest until the accession of Richard the 
First. The succeeding pages will shew that such a consideration 
presents almost the sole inducement for distinguishing the mili- 
tary architecture of the periods now under notice, from thost^ 
wliich subsequently occur, before the introduction of a more noble 
Btjle by the first Edward. 

it has been already suggested that the evil long fell by Eng- 



land, in a >^ant ofcastles of stone strongly fortified, was carefully 
remedied by William the Conqueror and his immediate successors. 
But it is the common lot of human effort to produce no benefit; 
without an intermixture of penalty. The erection of many royal 
castles, built by means of public contribution, and defended by 
national soldiery, was evidently a felicitous step towards the in- 
dependence and security of the island. William the First, how- 
ever, had an aim more selfish, blended with the advancement of 
the national prosperity. In the same course of policy he was 
followed by his sous; and the barons,* thus stimulated, produced 
an assenibla<^e of fortresses eventually dangerous to the reigning 
power, and most certainly injurious to tlie comforts, and fair pri- 
vileges, of the inferior classes of society. 

The active and military disposition of the Anglo-Normans is 
forcibly evinced by the celerity with which they raised fortifica- 
tions so numerous and so massive, in a country lamentably defi* 
cient in artificial means of defence previous to their invasion. 
The great and good Alfred complained that he had few fortresses 
of stone to defend his upright government against the predatory 
Danes ; and the crown, perhaps, finally passed from an Anglo- 
Saxon dynasty, through the same national poverty in castellated 
resources. Yet, before the termination of the 12th century, we 
find that the busy population of England, under the sway of l\Vb 
Normans, had so far loaded the island with fortified piles of stone,' 

Z 2 that 

• Tlie leader will recollect tliat a residence in strong castles was not con- 
fined to the laybarons, but that prelates also constructed such edifiees, and 
dwelt there, in a resemblance of military severity. This, however, appears 
to have been contrary to the canons of tlie church ; but was only a natural 
consequence ot' that Anglo-Norman regulation, which compelled the bishops 
and abbots to serve the stale in a military capacity, alihougli by proxy. 

An idea of the usual residence of a bishop, in the Anglo-Norman ages, 
may be formed from the ancient part of Durham castle, noticed in the Beau- 
ties for that county, p. 60 ; and from the ruins ol Lavjhaden castle, described 
in the Beauties for South Wales, p. 806. 


that the whole kingdom is saiJ, in the Saxon chrouicle, "to hate 
been covered with castles/' 

This figurative expression is less extravagant than it appears 
to be at the first glance, when we reflect on the comparative scan- 
tiitess of population, and the small division of land cleared for the 
use of agriculture. Populated England, as it would then appear 
on a map, was, perhaps, not more than oue-fourth the size of the 
present cultivated portion of country ; and over those narrow 
tracts of busy scenery, interspersed amongst deep and wide masses 
of woodland, were spread, in the latter days of King Stephen, do 
less than eleven hundred and fifteen castles.* 

When the standard laws of the realm were ill-deiined, and the 
great court of appeal, or that in which the king presided in person, 
was ambulatory, and difficult of access; the evils proceeding fi-om 
the licentious conduct, even of the garrisons of royal castles, were 
found to be vexatious and oppressive. But these formed only a 
small part of the grievances arising from an inordinate multipli- 
cation of strong holds. 

Very considerable power was vested in the hands of each par- 
ticular baron, by the nature of the feudal system; and, in the 
troubled times Avhieh shortly succeeded to the introduction of that 
mode of tenure ill its complete form by the Normans, these great 
landholders assumed on the privilege which was granted to them 
by the crown, of administering the law within their immediate 
territories, and violated justice with impunity, in attention only 
to their own interests^ or the dictates of their passions. Secure 
in their fastnesses of stone, they often derided even the sove- 
reign's retributive threats; and the crown, too weak for the real 
good of the country, passed unnoticed their local tyranny and 
aggressions, while assured of their loyalty, and calculating on 
the aid to be afforded by their castles in a day of need. The 
afflictions of the subordinate classes of society, when castles were 
so numerous, and their possessors so little restrained by legal 


• Grose, apud Regi$trum Prioratus de Dunttaple, ^c. 


maxims of justice and forbearance, are mentioned in emphalical 
terms by many ancient historians, and may be readily apprehend- 
ed without an extract of those writers.* 

The political dangers arisin:^ from such a multitude of fortresses 
(the nurseries of civil war,) placed in the hands of polent and fac- 
tious subjects, speedily alarmed the ruling power. In the treaty 
between King Stephen and Henry, Duke of Normandy (after- 
wards Henry the Second,} it was agreed that all castles erected 
within a certain period, should be razed to the ground ; and 
many were, in consequence, utterly destroyed. When Henry 
acceded to the throne, several other castles shared the same fate ; 
and he prohibited all persons from erecting such fortified build- 
ings without an especial licence from the crown. The same ne- 
cessity of permission from the sovereign, or a power delegated by 
him, prevailed through numerous succeeding reigns, as is obvi- 
ous in many pages of the Beauties of England and Wales, where 
(in treating of the date of a castellated structure} it is observed 
that the founder obtained the king's licence to fortify his resi- 

Z 3 lu 

* Whilst noticing the injaries which the property, and the domestic peace, 
of the laborious classes appear to liavc sustained from the tyranny of rapa- 
cious and sensual chieftains, who were indifferent to reroonstrancs when, 
shielded hy massy lines of fortification, it must be observed that the castle 
of the baron afforded to the trader and artizan some occasional protection.— 
Markets and fairs were exposed to ponsiderable dangf-r in these turbulent 
times, from open rapine, or covert but determinate injustice. By a law of 
William the First, it was decreed that all fairs and markets should be kept 
"in fortified cities, towns, or tuatles." Although this law had, prohabij, 
for its chief object a careful collection of the royal tolls, the security afforded 
by the castle, and the redress to be there obtained in cases of dispute, were 
circiimstances of great public advantage. 

f The Bishop of Durham, a.s possessing a Palatine right, had the privilege 
of granting licenses to fortify ; and it is supposed, but I believe nut proved, 
that the same power was possessed by other Palatine nobles. A translation 


In the above remarks we view tlie evils arising from the exist- 
ence of fortified piles (so massy and well-contrived, that, before 
the use of gunpowder, they were nearly impregnable) when they 
yrere diverted from their original purpose, and, instead of bar* 
rlers of national defence, became the mere seals of harons, and 
the protection of local tyranny. — A view so severe, and confined 
to the repulsive side, would be calculated to add fresh tin):s of 
gloom and terror to the rugged fragments of those ancient struc- 
tures ; and might induce us to reflect, with unmixed pleasure, on 
the events which have dismantled their towers, and robbed their 
lialls of almost every relic of tenantry. But there are circum- 
stances connected with the hours in which the baltlements were 
perfect, and the courts and passages thronged with population, 
that demand regret, at least through one short minute, for their 
present dilapidated condition. 

Although a petty tyranny, of dreadful local influence, dis- 
^gured some of these abodes, and renders them still hateful to 
contemplation, the valorous and renowned, the Percys and Ta|- 
bots of history, resided in others j and who will not be gratified 
to reject that the walls within which they dwelt are still remain- 

from tlie French, of a licence to "embattle and crcnalnte," granted by the 
Bishop of Durham, is presented in the Beauties for that countj', p. 228. 

Few licenses to construct castles occur aftsr the reign of Edward the Third. 
One, however, granted by Richard the Second, is noticed in the preface lo 
Grose's Antiquities j and two f.irther instances of similar licenses, obtained 
in the same reign, arc mentioned in the Beauties of England for the countv 
of Durham, and will be specified in subsequent pag«s of this " Jntroduc- 

It is observed in the Beauties for Norfolk (p. 176.) that Sir Edmund 
BedingCeld obtained a grant, or p.itent, of K ng Edward the Fourth, in the 
vear 1483, to build his manorhou^e, termed Oibiirgh Hall, with towers, bat- 
tlements, machicolations, &c. Tliis building is a fine specimen of the caslel- 
laled mansion. 

The privilege of erecting a mansion, without a licence froij the crown, 
or autliorities thence appointed, did not exist until tlie reign of Henry the 
Jiighth. ■ ^ ^- 


ing, the monuments of their hospitable dignity ! Those ruined 
structures which we now behold, scattered in deserted magnifi- 
cence (the striking emblems of mortal evanescence I) when new, 
and the boast of their respective counties, formed the schools of 
chivalry, and were the theatres of courtesy, wit, and wisdom, 
through a long successidn of ages. If attentively examined, 
their remains present the best criteria for forming a judgment of 
the progress of manners and customs, in periods little illumined 
by the tomes of the historian. 

Whilst security alone was the object of the chieftain, we have 
seen that the keep of his sullen retreat was as contracted, insu- 
lated, and chearless, as were his own notions of enjoyment. 
When each baron's castle became a court of chivalry, the select 
8nd most noble youth of the land resorted to it, and here acted as 
pages, until by trials of skill and exercises of hardihood, chiefly 
performed in the neighbourhood of the same military edifice, they 
proved themselves worthy to receive the honour of knighthood. 

The softer manners of the age were connected with such a pro- 
bationary service. Many noble, or well-dowered, females, were 
wards* to the great barons possessing such castles; and in the 
hours of festivity both sexes were mingled. The banquet and 
the dance, in such society, were lessons of gallant courtesy to 
the youthful page ; and when we reflect on such scenes, while 
viewing these fabrics, now abandoned and lonely, we may remem- 
ber that some of the few bright virtues of the iron and unlettered 
ages, emanated from a deference towards the weaker sex, here 
carefully cultivated. 

Whilst we recollect the pompons manners ascribed to the lords 
of such structures; their chivalric celebrations, their long ranks 
of retainers, and the numerous youth of both sexes protected in 

Z 4 their 

* The minor heirs of all noble ox afBuei^t deceased va&sals of the crown, 
were wards of the king, during the strict prevalence ©f tlie feudal system ; 
and the management of the estates belonging to such miners was a sonrce of 
considerable profit to the royal revenue. The person of the ward was eom« 
jnitted to the guardiaosbip of some distinguished, aiid favourite cuurti^r. 


their halls, as pages or as wards; we naturally enquire concern- 
ing the situation of those " halls" (on which tradition and fancy 
have bestowed so much splendour;) and of the " bowers" in which 
the noble inmates of the castle reposed. 

In reply to enquiries so natural, it must be observed that if wc 
form au estimate of the imaginary needs ^nd luxuries of life, in 
the middle ages, from the factitious wants or enjoyments of 
modern society, we shall certainly argue on most deceptive data. 
Grandeur and luxury are well known to be words of a comparative 
meaning. Homer's heroes and princesses were both grand and 
luxurious, in the esteem of the commonalty, three thousand years 
back; and the middle classes of society, at the present day, have 
an amplitude of apartment, and a delicacy of provision, uukuown 
to persons of exalted rauk in ages when even tables and arras- 
liangings were moved as valuables, and the softest form reposed 
upon sheets spread over straw. In calculating upon the halls and 
clKimbers required, in the early and middle centuries of English 
history, for the splendid reception of a large and noble family, 
we must not neglect to bear in remembrance this progressive 
change of manners. 

But, although our notions of splendour are so entirely compa'r 
ralive, it is still certain that the large retinues of wealthy and 
stately barons could not receive even bare accommodation in such 
structures as now remain, the sole monuments of their domestic 
habits. — It would appear to be unquestionable that the apartments 
in the keep tower were considered as principal rooms of state, from 
the earliest period down to the latest date at which defensible cas- 
tles were inhabited by their noble owners. But it is equally un- 
doubted that numerous buildings for the exercise of hospitality, 
and the reception of attendants, were constructed in the vicinity 
of the keep, so as to be defended by the strongest outworks of for- 
tification, in the same early ages ; and were much augmented and 

improved even nnder the direction of the AQglo-Normans,^ 


t JUp bftbi^ua] piptj of tbp Nuru;ans le4 tQ the introduction of a gratify. 



It is presumed that such buildings, in tlie earliest ages of cas- 
tellated architecture (as regards this country) iwere merely vrooden 
fabrics; and we have not relics to prove that, even in the reigns 
now under consideration, they were uniformly constructed of more 
durable materials. Until the truly splendid style of castellatioti 
introduced by the Edwards, these additional buildings appear, 
indeed, to have been considered as mere excrescences of the struc- 
ture; and such, unquestionably, they were, while, from the con- 
vulsed state of the country, the fortress was in continual danger 
of attack, and was chiefly viewed as a fortified encampment — 
Yet, in these extraneous erections, many grand celebrations were 
probably held; and here must have sojourned such retainers and 
affianced friends as could not possibly be accommodated within the 
narrow limits of the keep. 

The period at which these auxiliary edifices were first con- 
structed of stone, has not been ascertained in a manner completely 
satisfactory; but it has been thought, and, perhaps, with cor- 
rectness, that they were first partially built in so firm a mode in 
the reign of Henry the First.* Although formed of stone, they 
were, in general, not calculated for very long duration; and, 


ing appendage to castles of great extent and magnificence. — AcAapri, often 
ef capacious diniensions, and constructed in a manner equally solid and ele- 
gant, was now deemed necessary to the completion of a noble residence. 
Instances of such buildings, raised by Anglo-Norman barons, within the em- 
battled wails of a castle-area, or base court, may be noticed at Oxford 
(Beauties for Oxfordshire, p. 74 — 5.) and at Ludlow (Beauties for Shrop- 
shire, p. 2.51.) A part of the latter chapel is still remaining, and is repre- 
sented in an engraving, inserted in the Beauties of England for Shropshire. — 
Bishop Cundulph erected, in the Tower.of London, " a chapel 55 feet long, 
with a nave and aisles ; the former 15 teet broad." 

* Vide Muaimenta Antiqua, Vol. III. p. 166, and the authority there 
quoted. Some instances in which these buildings, intended for state and 
<;onvenience, and evidently forming parts of the structure unconnected with 
fortification, still remain, but in a dilapidated condition, occur iu the Beau- 
^es of England for the following counties:— Gloucestershire, p, 719 j Hamp- 
fbire, p. 908; Monmouthshire, p. 1433 174; and 177. 


when they were deserted^ they, in most instances, sank a ready 
prey to the wear of seasons, and the hands of sordid spoliatmrs. 
The keep, meanwhile, intended for defence, with a slight inter- 
mixture of stately arrangement, remained superior to all vicissi- 
tudes of weather; and has been often seen to deride the eiTorts of 
those who were desirous of reducing it to the ground, for the pur- 
pose of profiting by its materials. 

The reign of Stephen is that most celebrated for the erection of 
caslles, during the prevalence of what I Iiave ventured to term 
the mixed Anglo-Norman style of military architecture. An ex» 
ample of that date is, therefore, presented, as being most likely 
to convey useful hints of information to the examiner into the cas- 
tellated antiquities of the 12th century. 

The castle of Newark, m Nottinghamshire* is believed ta 
have been erected by Alexander, the " raunificeut bishop of Lin-t 
coin ;" who, in order to expiate the seeming offence of bis fond- 
ness for military architecture, built the same number of monas- 
teries as castles, and filled tbem with religious societies. This cas- 
tle is now in a state of confused roin ; but here, as in many other 
fortresses, the original and most important parts of the structure 
still exist, while many additions in later ages have sunk under 
the inroads of time, and scarcely left a fragment to denote their 

The remains of tliis building exhibit " a part of the enclosure 
of a large area, which was an oblong square, situated on an high 
bank by the side of the river Trent.'* The entrance, was, pro- 
bably, on a fortified line of the area which is now demolished; 
but the original keep, undoubtedly the chief place of residence, 
yet remains, and appears to have been placed near the centre of 
one of the ends of that oblong square which formed the boundary of 


• Beauties for Nottinglmmshire, p. $33, with an engraved view. The 
castle of Tiverlon, in Devonshire, as described in the Beauties for that countj 
(p. 2B7 — 9) presents, in some of its parts, an interesting specimen ofth« 
st^Ie of castallation in the reign of Henry the First. 


ihe fortification. This building, like the defensive outworks, is 
of an oblong form, and consists oftliree stories. On the ground- 
floor are two rooms, neither of which is lighted either by window 
or loop-hole. Beneath one of these lower rooms was a well for 
water; and a recess, still preserved, appears to have led down 
to a close and dismal dungeon. 

The next apartment above, was the first principal room ; and, 
here, " the entrance was by a covered way from the adjoining 
wall, similar to that of an old'Norman castle, the passage being 
a winding one, by which admission is gained into a small vesti- 
balc, wherein still are only two narrow lights, like loop-holes ; 
but from hence, by an arched doorway, is a passage to Ihe guard- 
room, which has two fine arched windows." 

The grand staircase of the keep commences on this floor, and 
leads to tlie state-apartments, which are situated immediately 
above. These were not of extensive dimensions, and were of a 
chill aspect. The principal room, however, was lighted by a 
large window, now in ruins, hut which appears to have been of a 
very splendid character. — An outer staircase proceeded from the 
base of the inner court, straight to the battlements and top of 
the building, having no communication with the apartments of 
the keep. 

Atone angle of the oblong outline of fortification, is still re- 
roaining a tower, of smaller proportions than the keep, with ex- 
tremely thick walls, pierced for loops ; and it is probable that a 
similar tower was originally situated at each corner of the for- 

In regard to the arts of fortification here practised, it appears 
that mock arches were constructed on the exterior, for the pur- 
pose of deception, as in several castles already noticed ; while, 
in other respects, the buildings exhibit a mixture of the style in- 
troduced by the early Normaus, with that of the more scientific 
mode carried to so great a degree of perfection by Bishop Gun- 
dnlph. Still, the whole fortress would appear to be ill-designed, 
^f compared with prominent examples either of ihe que style or 



tlie other; and such is ofteu the character of castles erected ia 
Kiog Stephen's reign; many of yihieh were built in haste^ and 
with little evidence of refined skill. 

The purpose of such structures being chiefly that of defence in 
the prosecution of party-quarrels, they may almost be considered 
as mere fortified camps; and we, consequently, see little attention 
paid to splendour, or even commodiousness, of internal arrange- 
ment, except, in the latter instance, for the accommodation of 
the military. In succeeding ages, vhen the times, although still 
of a troubled complexion, allowed longer intervals of peace, and 
more rational hopes of security, large additions were frequently 
Bsade to those castellated structures which became fixed seats of 
baronial residence. Vestiges of such additional buildiugs must be 
discriminated with a careful eye from the plan of the original for- 
tress. Such an augmentation is evident here at Newark, in the 
relics of a great hall, constructed at one of the angles of the out- 
ward fortification, and extending far into the basercourt; having, 
beneath, a curious arched vault, supported by a row of pillars in 
the middle, with loops and embrasures on the side tqwards the 
river which flows at the base of these ruios. 

The three following may be noticed amongst the strongest cas- 
tles erected in the reign of Stephen; Norham, in Northumber- 
land;* Sheriff'-Huiton,\n Yorkshire ;-\ ^\xA Brancepeth, in the 
county palatine of Durham ;t which latter fortress is believed to 
have been built in the early part of Stephen's reign. 

The persons most distinguished in history, for the erection of 
castellated structures, in the reigns of Henry the First, and 
Stephen, like the illustrious architect of the ages immediately 
preceding, were ecclesiastics, and of mitred dignity. These 
were Roger, Bishop of Sarum, and his nephew, Alexander, 
Bishop of Lincoln. The works in military architecture of the 


* Beauties for KorthumberUnd, p. $25. 
4 ■ Yorkshire, p. 249. 

I Durham, p. 200. 


former celebrated prelate are cotntnemorated by several historians, 
and [tarticularly by William of Malmsbury, a contemporary vrriter. 
Unlike Bishop Gundulph, his great predecessor in architectural 
renown, the structures which he erected were intended for the 
residence of himself; for the aggrandisement of political strength, 
and the gratification of personal ambition. He is said to have 
built, or to have much enlarged, the castles of Malmsbury, De- 
vizes, Sherborne, and Sarum. The above historian describes 
these buildings as being " erected at vast cost, and with sur- 
passing beauty; the courses of stone being so correctly laid, that 
the joint deceives the eye, and leads it to imagine that the whole 
wall is composed of a single block/' 

In a comment on this passage, presented in Mr. Britton's Ar- 
chitectural Antiquities, it is observed, " that as such a pecu- 
liarity of construction was, at that time, an object of admiration 
and surprise, we may infer that the mechanical art of masonry 
was then advanced to a state of excellence which was before un- 
known. In an age of almost perpetual warfare, strength in build- 
ings is the first object of consideration ; and this appears to have 
been the chief characteristic of the early Norman structures ; but, 
during the reign of Henry the First, something like beauty and 
decoration was aimed at; and the notice which William of Malms- 
bury takes of the buildings erected by Bishop Poor, clearly m- 
dicates that some novelty, or extraordinary improvement, was 
manifested in the architecture of that age."* 

The structures on which is founded the fame of Bishop Roger, 
as a builder of military edifices, are (with an exception of Sher- 
borne, of which a ruined part remains) so utterly destroyed, that 
we are unable to appreciate justly the commendation bestowed by 
"William of Malrasbnry, his contemporary. But, according to 
Dr. Maton, as quoted in the Beauties for Dorsetshire, " the cas- 
tle of Sherborne was, in every respect, correspondent to the de- 
scription," given by that ancient historian; " as we may per- 

* Arcbitsctural Antiquities, Vol. JI. p. 4. 


ceive, even from its ruins."* It is, therefore, probable that an 
improvement in the art of masonry was introduced to such of the 
most costly structures of these periods, as were erected in years 
least exposed to factious trouble. 

We have a specimen of the works of Alexander, Bishop of Lin- 
coln, in the cdisile of Newark, already described. 

In the present stage of our work, whilst viewing the castel- 
lated structures of this country chiefly as fortifications, it may be 
desirable to present an explanation of tlie terms used in de- 
scribing several component parts of the keep and outworks. 
Such a section, although superfluous to many readers, may yet 
be acceptable to others, and can scarcely prove uninteresting to 

The keep (in some instances called the dungeon, and, in others, 
emphatically styled the totcer) was the strongest part of the cas- 
tle ; and, consequently, formed the great dependance of the gar- 
rison in time of close siege. It was, indeed, the citadel of the 
fortress. Here were constructed the apartments in which the 
lord and his family resided; and, in early times, all the rooms 
intended for purposes of state and hospitality were, likewise, con- 
tained in the same isolated and limited part of the fortress.f Al- 
though these rooms maintained a superior dignity in the esteem 


^ Observations on the Western Counties, as quoted in the Beauties for 
Dorsetsliire, p. 50i?. 

f In Mr. Dallaway's " Observations on English Architecture," is the foJ- 
lowiag remark, which it may be amusing to quote, in illustiation of a term 
sometimes bestowed on the chief tower of an ancient castellated structure : — 
" Amid the ruins of castles, we are frequently shown those of one called the 
" Maiden Tower," as in Lord Surrey's sonnet, at Windsor castle : 

" With eyes cast up into the raayden's tower," 

Warton, in a note on this word, very satisfactorily proves that it did n«t 
refer to the habitation of the fair sex, or to the tower's having never been 
taken, but simply a corruption of the old French " tnagne," or " mayne," 
great. Hist. Engl. Poet. Vol. III. p. 13. 


oF later ages, additional halls, (as has been previously observed) 
uncounected with the massy outlines of the keep, were erected, 
as society attained a greater polish and more enlarged notions of 

The keep was co»nmonly situated near the centre of tlie forti- 
fied works ; but not invariably so. Instances in which this custom 
was neglected, and the keep was placed in a line with the exte- 
rior walls, occur iu several pages of the Beauties of England.* 
The outward form chiefly prevailing in this part of the castle, at 
different eras, is noticed in the respective sections of these re- 
marks cm the progress of military architecture. 

In the improved state of the science of fortification, the entrance 
to the citadel, or last retreat of the garrison, was guarded by 
porIcuUises,f as impervious to assault as were the ponderous walls 
of the structure; or by machicolations, i from which, destructive 


* It is observable that the keep at Portchater, Goodrich, Castletou, and 
several other f()rt^es^es ascribed by some antiquaries to an aute^Normao date, 
stands close to the outward wall of the castle. 

4. The portcullis is believed to have been first introduced to the military 
architecture of this country, in the instance of early Norman castles. The 
nature of this machine is almost too well known for repetition ; but it may be 
observed that the herse, or portcullis, was a strong grating of timber, fenced 
with iron, ai>d made to slide up and down in a groove of solid stoue work, 
wkltia the arch of the portal. The bottom was furnished with sharp iron 
spikes, designed to strike into the ground, for the sake of greater firmness and 
solidity, and also to break or destroy whatever should be uuder it, when it 
was let fall. The groove in which it rested was always contrived so deep in 
the stone work, that it could not be removed by assailants without pulling 
down the whole wall. — See Archaeol. Vol. IV. p. 370. 

f Machicolations " over gates, are small projections, supported by brackets, 
having open intervals at the bottom, through which melted lead aud stones 
were thrown down on the heads of the assailants ; and, likewise, large weights 
fastened to ropes or chains, by which, after they had taken effect, they were 
retracted by the besieged." Grose, preface to the Antiq. of England and. 
Wales. — It must be added that machicolations were not always projecting 
works, bKt sometimes consisted of rows of square holes in the vaulting of 



i»eights, or heated fluids, were precipitated on the heads of those 
nvbo endeavoured to force a passage. 

The walls of the keep were chiefly designed for protection, 
through a massiveness of character which derided assault before 
the use of artillery. Their few embrasures, or loops, for the dis- 
charge of arrows, were calculated for the annoyance, rather than 
the discomfiture of aa enemy. The great theatre of active de- 
fence was situated on the top of the castle, where a platform was 
generally constructed, with an embattled parapet; and, from this 
elevated spot, the defendants discharged swarms of darts, or loads 
of weighty stones, by means of various engines. 

The dungeon, or prison, of the castle, was a comfortless sub- 
terranean cell, usually, but not uniformly constructed immediately 
beneath the keep-tower. At Rochester we find it placed under 
a smaller tower, which adjoins the keep; and in the castles of 
Warkworth, Northumberland; and Spoffbrd, Yorkshire; two 
former seats of the noble family of Percy, the repulsive cell de- 
signed for the incarceration of offenders, is situated beneath a 
tower entirely detached from the main body of the structure, or 
that inhabited by the baron and his family. 

Whilst mentioning the dungeons of ancient castles, (which 
have by some persons been confounded with the whole keep) it 
is desirable to remind the reader, that, although grants for cas' 
ties to become state-prisons were usual in the early Norman ages, 
we are not to understand that, in consequence of such a grant, 
the whole castle became a prison. The fact appears to be, that, 
by virtue of this permission from the crown, " the usual dungeon 
of the castle was, by royal authority, appointed to be a public 
and privileged prison at all times; whereas the dungeons of other 
castles were permitted to be used as such only in lime of war, 
and it was unlawful at other tiroes to confine any persons therein. 
But the upper apartments of these keep towers, in which the 


portals, used, as is stated above, for pcaiingdewu beated snnd, melted Iead» 
aud other destructive articles. 


. 'dungeons were, continued, in both cases, to be constantly used as 
state apartments, for the residence of the lord of the mansion, 
notwithstanding the prison underneath. And hence, perhaps, 
arose the practice, in early times, of committing state prisoners 
to the custody of different lords at pleasure; whicli custom was 
continued even to the time of Elizabeth, when tlie origin of it 
was forgotten."* 

The outworks, however formidable, being the weaker parts of 
a castle, and those, from many causes, most subject to demolition, 
they in few, if in any, instances retain to the present day the 
precise features of their original construction. The great varie- 
ties of. form observable in the ground-plans of ancient castles, 
will be obvious on an inspection of those pages of the " Beauties" 
which treat of such structures. Natural circumstances, and the 
excursions of caprice, often operated so largely on the architect's 
design, that it is, indeed, impossible to present any single ex- 
ample, as a satisfactory illustration of the mode used in the dis- 
tribution of the outline and attendant works. 

The following remarks on this head niay not be unacceptable. 
It would appear that the Anglo-Saxons constantly affected the 
circular form, in regard to exterior Hues of defence, where such a 
method was not denied by imperative natural circumstances; and 
encompassed the keep with concentric walls. The Anglo-Nor- 
mans were more variable, and introduced many bold novelties of 
style in the disposal of their outworks. — The fortified area attend- 
ant on the keep of most castles, of a date not earlier than the ad- 
vent of the Normans, may, however, in general terms, be stated 
as consisting of two divisions, named the ou/er and inner hallia. 

On the extremity of the works was a circumambient ditch,t 
2 A uniformly 

• Archaol. Vol, IV. p. 40S; and Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. III. p. 251. 
+ Ditch, moat, fosse, or vallum. These various terms are used to express a 
hollow space on the outside of walls, or ramparts. Arehaeol. Vol. XII. p. 
146. When the ditch was dry, there were, sometimes, subterraneous pas- 
sages, through which ttie cavalry coald sally. Grose's Pieface to Antiq. of 
Englaod and Wales. 


uniformly filled with waler^ when such a circumstance was attaint' 
able; but a ditch, or fosse, was still formed, even if it remained 

The most prominent part of the architectural fortification was 
termed the Barbican, or Barbacan ; which may be succinctly 
described as a "small tower, for the station of an advanced guard, 
placed just before the outward gate of the caslle-yard, or bal- 
lium/'* Mr. Grose, in the preface to his Antiquities of England 
and Wales, quotes " diverse authors," in regard to the meaning 
of the word Barbican, and the use to which this part of a castle 
was assigned; who "all agree that it was a watch-tower, for 
the purpose of descrying an enemy at a greater di8tance."+ 

But snch an opinion appears liable to this objection: — the bar- 
bican, as usually described, was a small tower, of much less alti- 
tude than the keep ; and, therefore, was not nearly so well cal- 
culated for the discovery of an enemy approaching in the distance. 
If we reject the probability of it being designed as a tower of ob- 
servation, we can scarcely believe that it was intended as a seri- 
ous addition to the strong defensible character of the fortress; for 
it appears to have been of an inconsiderable size, and, as it was 
often protruded beyond the ditch, must be more easy of assault 
than the towers on the mural line protected by that wide and deep 
vallum. Possibly it was, in most instances, rather an appendage 
of honour to the castle; the spot for receiving stately announce- 
inenls, and returning answers, by voice of herald. But, at the 
same time, it, assuredly, acted as a protecting cover to the en- 
trance; although, if its customary situation, and comparative 
strength, be accurately described, it munt have been of little avail 
on the occurrence of a regular siege. 

The barbican, if placed beyond the outward ditch, was united 
to the main parts of the fortress by a bridge of stone, in early 


• Archwol. Vol. VI.p. 308. 
t Afltiq. of England and Wales, 4to. edit. p. 9. 


ages ; and by a drawbridge afterwards.* When the moat was 
thus crossed, the outer ballium was entered through an embat- 
tled gateway, usually flanked by two strong towers. The walls 
encompassing the ballia were embattled, crenellated, or garrotted 
(each of which terms has the same signification in military archi- 
tecture) and were provided, on the inner side, with a footway 
fterre pleinej fur defendants, ascended by flights of steps at coo- , 
venieut distances. The walls were, likewise, commonly strength- 
ened by towers, well placed for a command of the intervening lines 
of rampart. 

In such terras may be described the general character of a strong 
hold, used as a dignified residence. Many varieties are noticed 
ID different volnmes of the Beauties of England and Wales, and 
such as are important, in distinguishing between the modes of 
difllerent eras, are cited in appropriate sections of this introduc- 

The various machines used in the attack and defence of these 
massy fortresses^ are enumerated and described in Grose's Mili- 
tary Antiquities, and in the preface to the same author's Anti- 
quities of England and Wales. The researches of that writer 
were so peculiarly directed to the ancient military history of Bri- 
tain, that the following extract, from different parts of his latter 
work, briefly exhibiting the modes of conducting a siege, before 
the invention of artillery, must necessarily be considered as a de*' 
flirable appendage to the above descriptive and explanatory re- 
marks : 

" The method of attack and defence of fortified places, prac- 
tised by our ancestors before, and even some time after, the in- 
▼eotion of gunpowder, was much after the manner of the Romans; 

2 A 2 most 

* It appears to be anquestionable that ihe moats round our oldest castles 
were crossed by bridges of stone. Such occur in the very ancient ca^tIe of 
Norvieh ; and may be noticed, among other instances, at Castle Rising, 
Norfolk, (Beauties for Norfolk, p. 301 — 2,) a building either of Anglo-SaxoD, 
or early Anglo-Norman original. Drawbridge* were a refinement in fortifica- 
tion, which only tardily grew into use. 


most' of the same macliines being made use of, though some of 
- them under different names. 

" They had their engines for throwing stones and darts, of 
different weights and sizes; the greater answering to our batter- 
ing cannon and mortars; the smaller to our field-pieces. These 
were distinguished by the appellations oihalista ; catapulta ; es- 
. pringals ; tcrhuchets ; mangonas ; mangonels ; bricoUes ; the 
petrary ; the viatafunda ; and the wartcolf. 

" For aj)proaching the walls, they had their moveable towers, 
by which the besiegers were not only covered, but their height, 
commanding the ramparts, enabled them to see the garrison, who 
were otherwise hid by the parapet. For passing the ditch, they 
had the catlus, and sow, machines answering to the pluteus, and 
viuea, or testudo and musculus, of the Romans: the raw was 
sometimes, but not commonly, used. 

" Mines, too, were frequently practised. These were either 
subterraneous passages into some unfrequented part of the for- 
tress; or else made with an intent, as at present, to throw down 
the wall. Countermines were also in use; and the engineers of 
those days were not unacquainted with artificial fireworks. 

" The progressive steps taken in attacking fortified places, 
and the methods opposed thereto, as anciently practised, were, 
allowing for the difference of engines, much the same as at pre- 
sent. In small towns, or castles, the assailants threw up no 
works; but, having hurdles, or large shields, called pavais, 
borne before them, advanced to the counterscarp; here, some 
with arrows, slings, and cross bows, attempted to drive the be* 
sieged from the ramparts; and others brought fascines to form a 
passage over the ditch, if wet, and scaling-ladders to mount the 
walls. The besieged, on their part, attempted to keep the enemy 
at a distance, by a superior discharge of their missive weapons; 
to Imin the fascines brought to fill up the ditch; or to break, or 
overturn, the scaling-ladders. I larger places, or strong cas- 
ties, lines of circumvallution and contravallation were coustruct- 
£<] ; the former to prevent any attack or succour from without; 



and the latter to secure them from the sallies of the besieijed. 
In both these, small wooden towers were often erected, at proper 
distances, called bri$tegia, or rather tristcgia, from their having; 
three floors, or stages. 

" When the garrison of the place was numerous, and a vigor- 
ous resistance expected, they often formed a blockade, by en- 
closing it with lines, strengthened by large forts, and sometimes 
even a kind of town. Of the first, there is an instance in the , 
reign of Stephen; when that king, being unable to take by force 
the strong castle of Wallingford, surrounded it with a line, ; 
strengthened by forts, the principal of which he called the castle 
of Craumer ; he also cutofi'the passage of the garrison over the 
Thames, by erecting a strong fort at the head of the bridge. It , 
was, however, held by Brier Fitz Comte, till relieved by Henry • 
the Second, then Duke of Normandy ; who, on notice of the 
danger of this important place, set out from France, encamped 
before it, and, encompassing these works with a line of circum- 
vallation, to prevent Stephen from succouring them, besieged the 
besiegers. This brought on the conference and peace between 
those two princes. The latter is mentioned by Froissart, as prac- 
tised by King Edward the Third, at the siege of Calais; where, 
not content with blocking it up by sea, and making lines on the > 
Downs, and at the bridge of Nieulay, he also built a kind of 
city of timber about the place besieged ; where, says that author, 
there were palaces and houses, laid out in regular streets : it had 
its markets on Wednesdays and Fridays, merceries, shambles, 
and cloth-warehouses, and all sorts of necessari<!K, which were . 
brought from England and Flanders : in fine, every convenience 
was there to be had for money. 

" It seems doubtful whether any thing like approaches were 
carried on. ft is more probable, that the besiegers took the op- 
portunity of the night to bring their engines and machines as near - 
the walls as possible : batteries were then formed, and covered , 
with an epaulcment. 

" The msuigouels and petraries began now to batter the walls, 
2 A 3 • and 


and the working parties to make the passage into the ditch, car- 
rying hurdles and fascines, which, with their bucklers, served 
to shield them in their approach. They were supported by a 
number of archers, covered with large targets, arrow -proof, held 
by men particularly appointed for that service. These archers, 
by shooting into the crenelles, and other openings, scoured the 
parapet, and protected the workmen in their retreat for fresh 

" An easy descent being formed into the ditch, the cattus, or 
sow, was pushed forwards, where the men, under cover, 6lled up 
and levelled a passage for the moveable tower; which being thrust 
close to the walls, the archers, on the different stages, kept a 
constant discharge of darts, arrows, and stones; the miners be- 
gan to sap the wall, or it was battered with the ram. When the 
mine was finished, the props were set on fire : daring the confu- 
sion occasioned by the falling of the part mined, which was cora- 
inonly a tower, the assault was given, and the breach stormed. 
If there were more works, these operations were repeated. Where 
no moveable tower was used, both mines were made, and the ram 
worked under the cattus and sow. 

" On the other hand, the besieged opposed, for their defence, 
flights of darts, and large stones, shot from their engines; with 
arrows and quarrels from their cross bows ; sallies, wherein they 
attempted to burn or demolish the machines of their enemies; and 
mines under their moveable towers, in order to overthrow them. 
Upon the cattus and sow they tiirew monstrous weights, to break, 
and wildfire to burn them. 

" Upon the front attacked, they placed sacks, filled with wool, 
which were loosely suspended from the wall; and, to break the 
stroke of the ram, besides this, divers other contrivances were 
invented; such as nippers, worked by a crane, for seizing it; 
and, sometimes, they let fall upon it a huge beam, fastened with 
f haius to two strong levers."* 

• Prcrag to Grose's Ant'iq. of England and Wales. 


Such arc the most important particulars collected by Mr. Grose, 
in regard to the modes of attack and defence practised while the 
ancient fortresses of this island constituted the great strength, and 
depeudance, of its factious barons. Tiie length of time required 
for such tedious operations on the part of the besiegers, when the 
services of the military were limited in duration, was a circum- 
stance highly favourable to the defensive party; and, when we 
remerabtr the massy character of the walls, and the elevated 
situation of the keep, in many of the ancient castles, we may 
readily believe that they were nearly impregnable to open assault, 
conducted in such methods. In respect to the stronger castles, 
the contending parties, indeed, appear to have chiefly depended, 
for a result, on the capability of procuring sustenance. A want 
of aliment for the garrison, more frequently led to the surrender 
of a distinguished ancient fortress, than the havoc produce<l by 
the engines of its assailants. 

On the Ecclesiastical Architectdre of the Anglo- 
NoBMANS.* — The Anglo-Norman style in ecclesiastical arcbi- 

2 A 4 lecture 

* The term of Akolo-Norman is presumed, in tliis " Introduction," to 
be applicable to all buildings erected in the reigns of William the First and 
Seconds Henry the First, Steplieii, and Henry the Second ; or from the year 
1066, to 1189. 

lu ascribing to the Anglo-Norman style, the above date of prevalence, 1 
have adopted the plan suggested by "A sketch of a 'Nomenclature of Ancient 
Architecture," presented in the first volume of Mr. Brittou's Architectural 
Antiquities. Much difference of opinion, however, prevails as to the period 
at which this s^yle of architecture may be said to have ceased, as a fasliion. 
Mr. Bentham (Hist, of Ely CdthedrdI, p. o4.) seems inclined tu restrict it to 
narrower limits; but "thinks we may venture to say," that the circular mode 
"was universally used by the Anglo-Normans to the eud of King Henry the 
First's reign." Dr. Alilner (letter to the editor of Taylor's Gotliic Essays, 
p. 13.) considers the pointed style " to have properly begun in the reign of 
our first Plantageuet," Henry the Second. Wr. Millers, on the eonirary 



lecture is, necessarily, a subject of curious enquiry and high in- 
terest. Notwitlistanding the vicissitudes of mauy centuries ; the 
rapine of those who followed in the wake of reformation; and the 
changes effected by fashion, or, rather, the improvements arising 
from anew creation in architectural manner, at once more scien- 
tific, captivating, and august ; numerous magnificent vestiges of 
this commanding style are still remaining, in nearly every divi- 
sion of England, and in several parts of Wales. 

In those splendid examples, on which the pride and talent of 
the conquerors lavished their resources — the cathedral edifices of 
this country — ^the relics of Anglo-Norman architecture are min- 
gled with the light, and more beautiful, innovations of the pointed 

The monastic buildings of the Anglo-Normans (subject, in at 
least an equal degree, to the same intermixture) have nearly dis- 
appeared, even as sinking antiquities. Bereft of their endow- 
ments by the reforming spirit of Henry the Eighth, the bnild- 
ings connected with religious foundations, which that arbitrary 
prince bestowed on greedy courtiers, as rewards for their acqui- 
escence in his measures, or sold, for the gratification of his own 
avarice, were quickly despoiled of such constituent parts as were 
necessary to their preservation. Many of these desecrated struc- 
tures were disjointed, for the value of their materials; parts of 


(Description of Ely CatLedral, p. 17.) extends the prevalence of Anglo Nor- 
man architecture to the end of Richard the First's reign. 

It will be obvious that no line of demarkatioii can be drawn with so nice a 
hand, as to exclude the last instance of the circular stj'le, and embrace the 
earliest display of pointed architecture. Arches of the peaked, or pointed, 
character weie, assuredly, blended with those of the more ancient form in 
numerous structures, long before the light and pointed mode obtained pre- 
deminant favour, and was methodised into any resemblance of an architectu- 
ral order. But it would appear that the heavy, circular, style of the Saxons 
aad Normans was disused in buildings of leading importance, and discarded 
as a national fashion, sufficiently near the time noticed above, for any pur« 
pose connected with general enquiry. 


seme few were altered, and converted into dwellings for gentry 
subservient to the will of the monarch ; and others, tenantless 
and friendless, were left to moulder quietly into dissolution ; their 
materials affording help to the agricultural builder, or to the 
mender of the roads, as occasion might demand. 

In some instances, however, these deserted remains have proved 
too massive for fortuitous efforts at demolition ; or have escaped, 
through accidental forbearance, arising, perhaps, from a linger- 
ing feeling of ancient piety at first, and (although rarely) from 
antiquarian reverence afterwards. Such fragments unite with the 
crumbling masses of dismantled castles, in adorning this coun- 
try, above all others, with ruinous but impressive memorials of 
the manners of past ages. Pictorial in the irregular beauty of 
their decay, they at once elevate the imagination and instruct the 
understanding. Enriched with these half-extinct works of art, 
the landscape imparts a lesso^ of pensive morality ; and the build- 
ings raised by superstition, teach, in the august spectacle of their 
progressive dissolution, a sound practical knowledge of the in- 
stability of all forms, modes, and institutions, which depend ou 
human art or power. 

Parochial churches, free from the dangerous honour of a colle- 
giate endowment, were happily beyond the reach, or beneath 
the aim, of these reformists; and they present, in some instances, 
unaltered and uninjured specimens of the Anglo-Norman style; 
though, in humble and obscure buildings, the date of erection 
can rarely be ascertained with satisfactory precision. 

It has been already stated, on the authority of William of 
Malmsbury,* (and that of other ancient historians might be cited 
to the same effect) that the Normans, on gaining possession of 
the sovereignty of this kingdom, ostentatiously displayed their 
pious zeal by erecting numerous churches and monasteries, not 
only in cities and populous towns, but in recluse villages. The 
game writer adds that the custom of expressing religious fervour 


• Vide ante, p. 268—9. 


by founding a church or monastic house, prevailed in so eminent 
a degree, " that a rich man would have imagined he had lived in 
vain, if he had not left such an illustrious monument of his piety 
and munificence."* 

In the pride of their superiority over the Saxons of £nglandy 
as to magnificent notions, and a more careful cultivation of the 
arts, (results, p/obably, of happier political circumstances) the 
Normans not only enriched this island with numerous structures 
of a new foundation, but supplanted with fresh edifices many ee> 
clesiastical buildings of their predecessors, which had little need 
of substitution, as far as regarded intriasic promise of durability, 
influenced by this pride, in conjunction witii their ardent zeal of 
piety, they afiixed the marks of their massy vast architecture, to 
nearly every principal religious foundation throughout the con- 
quered kingdom. " It is observable," says Mr. Bentham, " that 


* The zeal with which the afiSuenl contributed towards the erection of ec- 
rlcsiastical buiidings, and the means used for inciting a spirit of pious emu- 
Jation, are curiously detailed in the history of Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire. 
From this history it appears that JofFred, Abbot of Croyland, under whose 
ftiispices the monastery was rebuilt, in the twelfth century, obtained of the 
Archbishops of Canterbury an^ York, remission of a third part of all pen- 
ances for irregularity of conduct, in favour of those who contributed to that 
pious undertaking. The must eloquent of his monks were dispatched, to re- 
quest assistance in foreign countries, as well as in every , part of Britain that 
promised a probability of succour; and large contributions were raised by 
means of those persuasive emissaries. But the day appointed for the cere- 
mony of laying the first stone, afforded the great harvest of Benefaction^ 
This propitious day wa» rendered holy in popular esteem, as the festival of 
the saintly \ irgins Pepetua and Felicitas. Multitudes of all ranks assembled ; 
for devotion, pageantry, and feasting were blended in the ceremonials. 
When mass was ended, the abbot laid the first stone at the east end^ and a 
stone towards the building was afterwards deposited by every a£Suent friend, 
together with a sum of money ; a grant of land, tithes, or church-patronage ; 
or a promise of materials towards the completion of the structure. The abbot 
then spread his bhssingover the heads of the contributors, and invited tlte 
whole to a sumptuous repast. It is said that not less than fire thousand per* 
»ou> were present at these solemnities. 


•11 our cathedral, and most of the abbey churches, were either 
wholly rebuilt, or greatly improved, within less than a century 
after the conquest; and all of them by Normans, introduced into 
this kingdom; as will evidently appear on examining the his- 
tory of their several foundations."* Those cathedrals, and other 
churches, which retain to the present day conspicuous marks of 
Norman design and execution, will be enumerated in future 
pages > 

Although there is no room for doubt as to the mode of archi- 
lecture in which the majority of these ecclesiastical buildings 
Were erected, it has been supposed that there was cause for 
questioning whether it accorded, even in many important charac- 
teristics, with the early manner of the Anglo-Saxons. But it is 


* The following note bj Mr. Bentbani, although not appended, in his 
work, to the above passage, affords some hints of inforraation which may be 
useful in the present section of our enquiries: " The Saxon waj of building 
■was, as is observed by Sir Christopher Wren, very strong. There were many 
cathedral and conventual churches of that kind, at the time of the conquest, 
which might, therefore, probably have continued to this day, had they not 
been pulled down, or suffered to run to ruin bj neglect; one principal cause 
of which was the removal of the bishops' sees(someof which had been placed 
in villages, or small towns) to cities and more populous places, by the coun- 
cil of London, A. D. J078. This occasioned the old Saxon cathedrals in the 
deserted sees to be neglected, and fall to decay." (Historyjof Ely cathedral, 
p. 31.) — Independent of the above cause, we may readily admit that the sub- 
stitution of Norman structures for those erected by the Saxons, did not absolute- 
ly imply the unsuitable meanness of such discarded buildings, when we remem- 
ber that the more extensive and magnificent piles raised by the Normans were 
subsequently destroyed, or altered, in their turn, to give place to a new 
node of architectnre. Contributions towards such erections, and an obserr- 
•nceof their procedure, assisted in keeping vivid the religious spirit of the 
laity. New buildings were certainly honourable to all ecclesiasticsconcerned, 
and, perhaps, profitable to some. An augmentation of structure was gene- 
rally attended by an extension of funds, for the support of sacerdotal dignity. 
It is said that parts of cathedrals, upon the continent, have been designedly 
left unfinished, with a view of perpetuating a liveliness af attention to the 
interests of the church. 


allowed that the same method of building was practised in this 
island, even before the advent of the Normans, it being intro> 
dnced by King Edward the Confessor, who passed much time in 
Normandy, and was greatly attached to the manners of that 

William of Malmsbnry, who wrote in the 12th century, and 
finishes his historical work with the reign of Stephen, describes 
Edward the Confessor, as having introduced, in the instance of 
the abbey church of Westminster, " a new style of building ;" and 
Matthew Paris, who died in the year 1259, repeats this assertion. 
Both authorities add, that the style then exhibited was adopted 
by many subsequent builders of churches, and the former men- 
tions it as the manner prevailing in his own time. 

This intelligence has caused some perplexity to the investi- 
gators of our ancient architecture. From a description of the ab- 
bey church of Westminster, as erected in the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, which is said to be copied from an ancient manu- 
script, it would appear that the structure possessed no peculiarity 
of ground-plan or elevation.* Indeed the testimony of such a 
manuscript is scarcely necessary, since we have abundant in- 
stances of the mode of ecclesiastical architecture prevailing in 
the early part of the 12th century, with which the building in 
question is expressly said to have assimilated by one of the au> 
thorities noticed above. 

The ecclesiastical architecture then in fashion, was of the heavy 
circular kind, deviating in few particulars from that which we are 
accustomed to consider as the style that prevailed in this country 
previous to the reign of Edward the Confessor. 

Many intelligent writers concur in an endeavour to account for 
the ambiguous intimation contained in William of Malmsbury 
and Matthew Paris, by supposing that the novelty introduced to 
the church-architecture of this country, by Edward the Confes- 

• The original Latin, together with a translation, is given in Hawkins's 
History of the Origin of Gothic Architecture, p. 108 — 9. 


sor, consisted only in an increase of dimensions, and consequent 
stateliness of character. However insufficient such a method of 
explanation may be deemed by the rigid enquirer^ it is certainly 
difficult to elicit a solution more satisfactory. 

It is said by Mr. Hawkins, that " an augmentation of dimen- 
sions can, by no mode of reasoning whatever, be termed a new 
-Style of architecture, or even a new mode of composition or build- 
ing; and no rational man would ever think of affirming, that thft 
churches of St. Peter, at Rome, and St, Paul, at London, were 
of different styles, because they were not of the same size."* 
But some license of phraseology must be allowed to persons, pro- 
bably intent on a mode of expression complimentary to the exist- 
ing dynasty. An enlargement of dimensions, and attendant in- 
crease of architectural display, in the sacred structures of every 
populous neighbourhood, were manifest throughout the kingdom, 
ia the time of William of Malmsbury ; and the accession of al- 
most universal dignity of proportions, might, perhaps, warrant 
the term of novelty, even though the ground-plan and the orna- 
mental arrangement retained the same character, or were subject 
to only few alterations. 

Mr. Millers, a pleasing writer on the propitious subject of Ely 
cathedral, presents the following remarks and objection : — " En- 
larged dimension is the only criterion which has been established, 
between the Saxon and Norman styles. It has been thought too 
vague, and certainly is so ; for it is percepliLle only in large edi- 
fices, such as cathedral and conventual churches, which have 
transepts, side aisles, and arches, tier above tier. But there are 
many parish churches, built in the Norman age, which, from the 
simplicity of their form, and the smallness of their dimensions, 
have been taken for Saxon buildings ; and which having none of 
the grander Norman features, it is extremely difficult to discri- 
minate." Such small parochial churches, in recluse situations, 

act, however, merely as exceptions to a positive rule ; and Mr. 


* History of tjie Origin of Gethic Arcliitecture, p. 113, 


Millers hiinseif coincides with the prevailing opinion, by obserr- 
ing, in the same page, that " the Normans were fond of statdn 
ness and magnificence, and though they retained the other cha- 
racteristics of the Saxon style, by this amplification of dimen- 
sioDS, they made such a striking change as might justly be en^ 
titled to the denomination which it received at its first introduc> 
tion among our Saxon ancestors, of " a new kind of architeC' 

A writer in the Archaeologia,t " submits (with great deference 
to the Society of Antiquaries,) whether the novum genus oedi' 
ficundi of William of Malmesbury, applied to the architecture 
of tlie Conqueror's reign, does not imply something more than 
«xt6nt and magnificence ; and whether, to complete the idea of a 
new style, we ought not to take in the pointed arch and Gothic 
ornaments ?" The answer is obvious, as it is contained in every 
building known to have been erected in the time of the Con- 

It will be recollected that the Normans of Duke William's 
time, although confessedly one of the most warlike, enterprising, 
and polite nations, then existing in Europe, did not evince any 
peculiar spirit of magnificence in thus enlarging the size of sa- 
cred structures. The practice of such an augmentation was ge- 
neral apon the continent, in the eleventh century ; and it is pro* 
bable that the inhabitants of Britain were precluded from parti- 
cipating in the improvement, solely by the distracted state of 
their country, nntil a temporary calm was afiforded by the reign of 
Edward the Confessor. J 


• Description of the Mthedral church of £]j, &c. by G. ^rllIers, M.A. p. 36. 

t Mr. Ledwich, Archaeol. Vol. VIII. p. 193. 
X The tenth century had proved generally unfavourable to the progress of 
the arts. It is said that ecclesiastical architecture experienced, on the conti- 
nent, a signal interruption during that period, in conse<{uence of a strange 
delusion which subdued the understanding of the great mass of the people.— 
•' It was belieyed," Cwrite* Mr. Whittington, in his Hi»teric«l Survey,] " that 



In our examination of the ecclesiastical architecture of the 
Anglo-Saxons, we have seen that the style prevalent throughout 
all Europe was nearly similar in the same ages ; and would ap- 
pear to have been universally copied [with progressive variatioBs, 
incidental to national temper, or advancement in art] from tlte 
architectural fashion observable in the churches of Rome, the 
emporium of all kinds of intelligence in those dark, centuries. 
The heterogeneous character of this debased mode, in whicli the 
4Ba80D worked up, in one building, the discordant fragments of 
diverse noble structures, is likewise noticed in that preceding 

Imitating from the same source, it appears that the Normaus, 
previous to their triumphant migration into Britain, had no ob- 
vious dissimilarity in architectural manner from the Anglo- 
Saxons, or from any other coeval Chiistian nation. It would 
be very gratifying to ascertain, from positive data, any peculi- 

the tboasaud years meatioaed in the Apocalypse, would be completed at th^ 
close of the tenih century, and that tlie end of the world would happen at 
that time. So strong and so general was this impression, that scarcely a single 
building of note was undertaken during this period , and the churches already 
erected, were suffered to fall into decay." 

We Ciin scarcely suppose that such a fantastical persuasion was alone suffi- 
cient to produce a total disregard of tlie arts through several successive ages ; 
but the neglect of church architecture in those years-is unquestionable. Ac- 
quiring vigour from temporary interruption and apathy, the spirit of architectu- 
ral improvement certainly burst forth, with very memorable splendour, siiortly 
after the expiration of the year so mueh dreaded as that of mundane dissolu- 
tion. — The information on this head afforded by a contemporary Benedictine 
monk, is thus agreeably conveyed by the author quoted above. — " The Chris- 
tians at the beginning of the eleventh cenluni, relieved from their mistaken 
apprehensions, hastened lo rebuild and repair their ecclesiastical structures : 
the various cities and provinces, especially of France, vied with each other, 
on this occasion, in a display of enthusiastic devotion. On all sides new and 
more stately edifices of religion arose ; and the world, aecording to the ex- 
pression of a contemporary writer, seeming to cast off its ancient appearance, 
every where put on a white mantle of churches." Whittington's Historical 
Surrey, &c. p. 46. Glaber Rodulphi Hist. lib. iii. c. 4. 


liarities> however minute, iu buildings erected by the Normans 
iu their own country before their invasion of this island. The 
most laborious writer produced by this nation, on the architectural 
antiquities of Normandy, is Dr. Ducarel ; and bis work, in the 
absence of one more completely satisfactory, has met with much 
antiquarian notice. 

It is stated by Dr. Ducarel, that the circular arch, with a cor« 
respondent massiveness of general character, prevails throughout 
the most ancient ecclesiastical buildings of Normandy. The cha- 
pel of St. Thomas I'Abbatu he supposes to be the oldest struc- 
ture which he inspected ; concerning the date of which no records 
are preserved. This chapel furnishes a solitary instance [as 
far as regards Dr. Ducarel's observations] of a richly ornamented 
style of sacred architecture in Normandy. He describes the 
pillars of the interior as differing much from all others which he 
noticed in that country. The capitals are " ornamented with the 
figures of imaginary animals," and display a studied diversity. 

But the ornamented style conspicuous in this ancient building, 
he believes to have been discarded before the period of the Nor- 
man conquest of England. A short time previous to that event, 
*' the Normans seem to have entirely disused what, till then, they 
had considered as ornaments, and which were still retained by the 
Saxons. From thenceforward they used the round-arch, with 
mouldings divested of all ornaments whatsoever, except occa- 
sionally a zig-zag, which they sometimes introduced."* 

Tbe abbey of St. Stephen, at Caen, was founded by William 
the Conqueror; and that of tbe Holy Trinity, in the same city, 
by his Queen, Matilda. The churches appertaining to these 
foundations are adduced by Dr. Ducarel, and by subsequent au- 
thors, as the most strongly-marked and important examples of 
the architectural fashion of Normandy, in the latter years of the 
eleventh century. 

Both these buildings are of uoble dimensions, " and sufficiently 


* Anglo-Normui Antiquities, p. lOt. 


•Lew, by their good proportion, that tlie architect was a perfect 
master iu his profession. All the arches of these two churches, 
as well those which form the doors and windows, as those which 
divide the nave from the aisles, are round, excepting only the 
arches of the inside of the choir of the ciiurch of St. Stephen, 
which having been greatly damaged by the Calvinists in 1562, 
has since been repaired, and the arches thereof made pointed, 
according to the manner of the time in. which it was repaired. 
The plain round arch may, therefore, be deemed the fashion of 
the Conqueror's age, and agreeable to the simplicity then used. 
It is further observable, that neither of the two abbey-churches 
of St. Stephen and the Trinity have any kind of ornaments about 

The church of St. Stephen, above-mentioned, was commenced" 
ander the direction of Lanfranc, afterwards Archbishop of Can- 
terbury. " The body of this church," says Dr. Ducarel, " is a 
plain stone edifice, entirely free from ornaments of any sort, either 
within or without. It ia built in the form of a cross ; and the in- 
side consists of a nave and two side aisles, separated by two rows 
of pillars, surmounted with semicircular arches. The tops of all 
the windows, and doors, of the church, are, likewise of the same 
form. The middle part of the inside of the transept very muck' 
resembles the work of the cross part of the abbey- church of St. 
Alban's, ia Hertfordshire, having the same kind of little arched 
work towards the top/'f 

The abbey of the Holy Trinity " was founded for Benedictine 
nuns, by the Duchess Matilda, about the same time that Duke 
William began to erect that of SL Stephen. In the year 1082,' 
she endowed it with so much munificence, that William de Poi- 
tiers makes no scruple of saying that she enriched the church 
much more thau any King, or Emperor, had ever done in the pre- 
ceding times. The church of this abbey is a plain neat building, 

2 B both- 

♦ Anglo-Norman Antiquities, p. 102—103. 
f Ibid, p. 51. 


both vrithiu and without^ and entirely free from Golhic orna- 

Mr. Wliillington, writing concerning the architecture practised 
by the Normans on the contineut, ohserves that the " Saxon 
churches of England were inferior iii elevation, massiveness, and 
magnitude, tu those of the Normans, and the Norman mode dif- 
fered considerably from that which was adopted in the neigh- 
bourhood of Paris, and furtlter to the south. The Norman 
cliurches were in some instances larger, but exhibited a greater 
rudeness of design and execution. The columns, in particular, 
were witbont symmetry, and shewed but little skill in the art of 
sculpture, while those of the French artists, whose taste had 
been improved by the remains of Roman architecture, frequently 
unitated with success tlie Corinthian capital, and sometimes the 
classical proportions. Both styles are wholly deficient in cor- 
rectness of taste;, but tUe barbarous massiveness of a Normau 
structure has a more decided air of originality, aud its rudeness, 
when on a large scale, serves greatly to enhance the sublimity of 
its effect."! 

T'he above descriptions of churches- erected in their own coun- 
try by the Normans, however deficient in minuteness of detail, 
will be found useful in a critical examination of Anglo-Norman 
buildings, and particularly as^ regards those structures which were 
raised shortly after the Conquest. 

In discussing this subject, I tirst present the most important 
remarks of judicious writers illustrative of the general character 
of Anglo-Norman aichitecluro, and shall afterwards notice their 
endeavours towards an appropriation of distinct varieties- in this 
mode to respective eras. 

[u regard to general character, it may be mentioned, as a 
succinct manual' of remembrance, that the style in architecture 


• Ani;Io-Xorman Antiquities, p. 6'2— '63. In tlie same work are giveiv 
niiTaviii>^s of the west front of tlie church of St. SiejiheH, and of the west 
tfunt and the interior «>f tlie churcli of the Holjr Trinilj. 
t Historical Surrey, Sec. p. 55 — 56. 


vhich is best designated by the terra of Anglo-Norman, is marked 
by the uniform prevalence of the semicircular arch ; by massy 
columns, standing on a strong plinth, or [according to Benthairf 
and Warton,] having " a kind of reguhir base and capital," which 
are usually square, the latter being in many instances left quite 
plain, but, in others, ornamented with foliage, or various repre- 
sentations of natural subjects ; by the massive contours of the 
mouldings; and by walls of great thickness, without any very 
prominent buttresses. 

It has been already suggested that one distinguishing mark of 
the Anglo-Norman churches, when compared with those described 
as having existed in the island previous to the Conquest, con- 
sists in the magnitude and grandeur of their dimensions. Al- 
though some of the principal ciiurches raised during the Saxon 
sway over this country, were far from being of a humble and con- 
fined character, it is unquestionable that the Norman rebuilders 
enlarged on the plan of these structures, in attention to that spi- 
rit which had prevailed so generally on the continent in the 11th 
century. In numerous cathedrals, which display an evidence of 
Norman design, we have ocular proofs of the grandeur of their 
architectural views. The vestiges of several conventual churches 
[once secondary in magnificence only to those cathedrals] afford 
the same conviction, even in their ruins.* 

2B2 In 

• The angmentation of dimensions ; the form ; and the usual procedure in 
building, the churches of this era, are thus noticed by Mr. Benlham : — " The 
works of the Normans were large, sumptuous, and magnificent ; of great iengtii 
and breadth, and carried np to a proportionable height, with twQ and some- 
times three ranges of pillars one over another, of different dimensions, con- 
nected together by various arches [all of them circular] ; forming thereby a 
Uiviet and upper portico, and over them a gallery ; and on the outside three 
tiers of windows. In the centre was a lofty strong tower, and sometimes one 
or two more added at the west end, the front of which generalfy extended 
beyond the side aisles of the nave, or body, of the church. 

" The observation made on rebuilding St. Paul's, in King William Rufus'f 
time, after the fire of London, in 1086, by Mauritius, Bishop of that see, vizk 

♦' That 


In every proporlion of component feature, the style of the An- 
glo-Normans was consonant to their augmentation of groand- 
p)a'n. Their principal huiidings do not present a magnitudinous 
assemhiage of small parts, but a ponderous vast whole, from 
which all ideas of littleness are excluded in every particular. — 
However rude in design or execution may be deemed these eccle- 
siastical structures, they assuredly possess a sublimity of effect, 
which is rarely equalled in buildings more skilfully planned, and 
of a more beautiful character. 

This sublimity was heightened, in many churches of the Anglo- 
Normans, by a twilight gloom, which would appear to have been 
studiously cultivated. Their windows, few and narrow, were ill- 
calculated to illuminate the edifice sufficiently for the purposes of 
the oflkiatiiig priests. It is, therefore, probable that the mys- 
terious sanctity of ancient ceremonials was rendered additionally 
impressive, in such churches, by the use of lighted tapers, eve» 
in the performance of mid-day service* 


'Tliat the plan was so extensive., and the design so great, that most people 
who lived at that time censured it as aTash undertaking, and judged that it 
never would be accomplished ;' is in some measure applicable to most of the 
churches begun by the Normans. — Their plan was, indeed, great and noble, 
and tiiey laid out their whole design at first ; scarcely, we may imagine, 
with a view of ever living to see it completed m their lifetime : their way, 
therefore, was usually to begin at the east end, or the choir part ; when that 
was finished, and covered in, the church was often consecrated ; and the re- 
muiiider carried on as far as they were able, and then left to their successors 
to be completed." Bentham's Hist, of Kly cathedral, p. 33 — 4. 

• Mr. Whitaker, in his " Cathedral of Cornwall historically surveyed," 
observes, that, in most of our oldest churches, the " officiating divine must 
generally have gone through the service by that shadowy sort of illumination, 
which candles awfully diffuse over the evening service of our great churches 
in winier;" and he supports such an opinion by the following historical col- 
l«ctii,ns.--" This practice began very eaily in the temples of Christianity j 
an express mention being made by some canons, [which from their spirit, or 
Irom tiicir age, or from both, were llwught worthy to be denominated apoi* 
teiical, and arc certainly some of tlie most ancient among Christians] of ' the 



The arches of an ancient edifice usually form the primary sub- 
jects of curious investigation. Those constructed by the Antrlo- 
Normans^ on tiie interior of a building, are chicBy characterised 
by plainness and simplicity ; relying for effect, as it would ap- 
pear, on the comparative magnitude of their proportions. But 
this is far from being of uniform application. Ornament is be- 
stowed on many witli a liberal hand ; and the arches of entrance 
to their ecclesiastical buildings were, in the great majority of in- 
jitances, richly adorned with all the circumstances of embellish- 
ment which ingenuity could then devise, or art reduce to prac- 


2 B 3 The 

oil for the lamp,' even in the service of the cucharist. We, accordingly, see 
Conrad, the prior of Christcluirch in Canterbury, as early as ll()8-9, giving 
to the eatlieclral ' a candlestick ol" wonderful greatness, composed of brass ; 
having three branches upon one side, with three upon the otiier, all issuing 
from their proper stem in the middle; and so being capable of adniitdiig 
seven wax lights into it.' This had only one range of receptacles for candles' 
and was not suspended by a chain, but raised upon a pillar, and so liad one 
receptacle in the centre. But others had three ranges, like our present clian- 
deliers, yet still raised upon a pilhu', and still having one receptacle in the 
centre. Thus, in the chupel at Glastonbury abbey, besides the Easter can- 
dle, ISO^ lbs. in weight, besides four other sorts of candles, a quarter of a 
pound, half a pound, a whole pound, and three pounds each; there was a 
candlestick of three ranges, the lowest holding ten candles, but all holding 
twenty-five, each half a pound in weight; and on certain festivals 'all the 
ranges* were lighted, with ' the middle candle at the lop of them.' Cathedral 
Hist, of Cornwall, Vol. I. p. 176—177 ; and the authorities there quoted. 

• Amongst the most splendid Anglo-Norman arches of entrance, must he 
noticed that at the west front of Rochester cathedral, constructed, as is be- 
lieved, after the design of Bishop Gundulph. The numerous mouldings of 
this fine arch are all " decorated with sculptures ; the principal of them repre- 
tenting twisted branches, and curled leaves, with a variety of sninli animals, 
and human heads, in rich open-work." A more extended description is pre- 
sented in the Beauties for Kent, p. 639 — 640. The Norman dooriva\s ;it 
Glastonbury, Malmsbnry, and Castle Apre priory, Norfolk, are also disiin 
suishcd and curious, specimens. 

Mr. Millers Liu his Description of the Catbcdrttl Church of Ely,] states it, 



The columns iu Anglo-Norman buildings are uniformly so 
massive as to appear in themselves a load to the foundation, evei) 
while they act as the supports of a superstructure. But, al- 
though thus invariably of a ponderous character, they are greatly 
dissimilar in form. Mr, Millers [enlarging, from various sources, 
on the remarks of Mr. Bentham] describes them as " huge 
massive piers," consisting, " sometimes, but seldom, of a simple 
shaft, and that cylindrical, hexagonal, or octagonal ; and, in 
general, spirally fluted, or adorned with lozenges, net-work, &c. 
in alt, or bass, relief." The same writer adds, " that they are 
most frequently of a compound form ; the body of the pier being 
sometimes of a rectilinear, sometimes of a curvilinear form, and, 
on two or more sides of it, various portions of columns, or of flat 
pillars applied to and worked up with it — sometimes four stout 
round columns joined together, with or without angular parts 
appearing between each two — or square, with a small round co- 
lumn at each corufer— in short, the variety of form very great, 
and that in the same range — the capitals frequently plain — the 
most usual ornament is a sort of volute — in some instances 
flowers, leaves, shells, human heads, or animals — they can 
scarcely be said to have a regular base, but stand oq a strong 
plinth, accommodated to the shape of the pier."* 


u the result of his observations, that the arches of the Normans were of " far 
greater amplitude than those of the Saxons — with less minute ornament — but 
frequently bounded by a single moulding — sumetinies indeed by more — but 
often none at all — sofTit always plain." 

" In the second tier," continues the same writer, while treating of Anglp- 
Korman buildings, " there are sometimes two smaller equal arches under one 
larger, with a column of raoderuie size Cur even comparatively slender] be- 
tween theiu. 

" In the third tier, generally three together, the middle one higher (ind 
troader than the others, and opened for a window ; all the three occupying if 
space equal to the span of a lower arch." Description of E'y Cathedral, &c. 
p. 21. 

f Ibi^. 


The above corapreliensive remarks wifl be found useful in the 
instance of local investigation; and some observations respecting 
the workmaoship, and the principle on which columns were con- 
structed by Anglo-Norman architects, will be presented in pages 
shortly ensuing. 

Although many Anglo-Nonnan churches display^ in their more 
conspicuous divisions, a considerable degree of ornament, the art 
of sculpture rendered only rude tributt-s towards their embellish- 
meot. No statues adnru the, exlei'ior of buildings erected at this 
era.* These, with canopied niches, and attendant luxuriancies 
of decoration, were reserved for a more splendid, if not more 
august, style of architecture. — Pieces of sculpture in relief, are, 
however, very frequent; and especially over doorways.- — It will 
be recollected that they consist of various subjects; — a supposed 
personification of the divinity — a representation of tiie saviour, 
the holy virgin, and numerous scriptural figures — allegorical de- 
vices, allusive to sacred writ — whole figures of men and animals, 
masques, chimerse, and many unintelligible creations of fancy. 
The whole are badly executed; and, in some instances, the coarse- 
ness of the age is exhibited, and perpetuated, by a neglect of 
decency in the representations. Carved faces occur on arches, or 
as capitals of pilasters. ' 

Mr. Bentham observes that escutcheons of arms, so common in 
the ecclesiastical buildings of succeeding ages, "are hardly, if 
ever, seen in these fabric8.*'f 

The roofs are concisely and well described, as being gene- 
rally vaulted witi» stone; the groining strong and plain, without 
tracery ; " but the groins, sometimes, laced on one, or both, 
sides, with a moulding." j; 

2 B 4 The 

* The bodies of two pillars, which assist in supporting the arch over the 
west entrance at Rochester cathedral, ure wrought into whole length siatiie>. 
supposed to be those of Henr^* the First and liis Q'leen Matilda. But lliete 
curious regal supporters can scarcely be said tu act as au exception to the 
fidvUxy of the above reruark. 

Hist, of Elj Catliedra', p. 33 Millers, p. 24. 


the towers of Anglo-Norman structures are of low, or rather 
(to use a homely, but expressive, term) of short and thick pro- 
portions — square and massive; — and they retain these characteris- 
tics even in the noblest instances of cathedral buildings. The in- 
troduction of tovrers among the Anglo-Saxons has been already 
noticed ; and those first erected by the Normans, in England, 
probably differed in few particulars, except that of augmented 

Mr. Bentham remarks, that " the towers and turrets of churclies 
built by the Normans, in the first century after their coming, 
were covered as platforms, with battlements, or plain parapet 
walls ; some of them, indeed, we now see finished with pinnacles 
or spires; which were additions since the modern style of 
pointed arches prevailed; for before we meet with none."* 

It has been stated in a previous section tiiat, even in several 
Anglo-Saxon churches, towers were speedily raised for ornament 
merely, although, at first, that part of a church was probably in- 
tended solely for the reception of bells. A striking increase of 
ornamental character was imparted, by the Normans, to the towers 
of many churches. Some information concerning this improve- 
ment is satisfactorily conveyed by Mr. Warton : — " The towers in 
Saxon cathedralsjf were not, always, intended for bells; they 
were," often, " calculated to produce the effect of the louvre, or 
open lantern, in the inside; and, on this account, were origi> 
nally continued open, almost to the covering. It is generally 
supposed that the tower of Winchester catiiedral, which is re- 
markably thick and short, was left as the foundation for a pro- 
jected spire; but this idea never entered into the; plan of the 


• Hist of Ely Catiiedral, p, 59 — 40. — Mr. Bentham adds, that one of tlie 
earliest spirfs of which we have any account " is that of old St. Paul's, finish- 
ed in the year 121^2." This spire was of timber, covered with lead; "but, 
not long after, they began to build ihera of stone, and to finish all their but- 
tresses in the same manner." ..rN,^ 

t By this term Mr. Warton evidently raeaii?'ca(bedraU erected by the 
K( r,4*ans, in what he calls the Saxon style. 


!a*Ghitect. Nearly the whole inside of this tower was formerly 
seen from below; and, for that reason, its side arches, or win- 
dows, of the first storj at least, are artificially wrought and orna- 
mented. With this sole effect in view, the builder saw no neces- 
sity to carry it higher. Many other examples might be pointed 
out. This gave the idea for the beautiful lanterns at Peterborough 
and Ely/'* 

The following observations of writers whose opinions have ob- 
tained considerable attention, demand notice in this place, as 
they afford some particulars, not devoid of interest, concerning 
the ornaments and construction of Anglo-Norman edifices. 

It has been already stated, in my remarks on the ecclesiastical 


* Observations on the Fairj Queen of Spenser, Vol. II. p. 195. — In the 
Cathedral History of Cornwall, Vol. II. p. 178—9, Mr. Whitaker affords 
fiorae remarks, in corroboration of the propriety of the above mode of ex- 
plaining the "source and origin of lanterns in our cathedrals." The architec- 
tural character of that fine ' open' and ornamented portion of a churcli-tower, 
which has been, for many ages, denominated a lantern, is biiefly explained 
in the Beauties for Cambridgeshire, article £/^ Cuthfdral. It may not be un- 
desirable to observe, in this page, that lanterns of open stone work, erected on 
lofty church towers, of a more recent date than the Anglo-Norman era, are 
supposed by some writers, to have been intended to hold lights, in aid of 
the traveller. In Mr. Britton's Architectural Antiquities (Vol. IV. p. 118 — 
119) are the following remarks concerning this part of the steeple of Boston 
choTch, Lincolnshire. " The lantern, I have no doubt, was intended to be 
lighted at night, for a sea mark. The church of All Saints, at York, has a 
lantern very much resembling this of Boston ; ' and tradition tells as that 
antiently a large lamp hung in it, which was lighted in the night time, as a 
' mark for travellers to aim at, in their passage, over the immense forest of 
.Cialtres, to this city. There is still the hook of the pulley on which the lamp 
hung in the steeple.* Drake's York, p. 29?. And Stow tells us, that the 
steeple of Bow church, in Cheapside, finished about 1516, had five lan- 
terns; ' to wit, one at each corner, and one on the top, in the middle upon 
the arches.' ' It seemeth that the lanlhorns on the top of this steeple were 
meant to have been glazed, and lights in them to have been placed nightly 
in the winter; whereby travellers to the city might have the belter sight 
thereof, and not miss their way." Survey, p. 542. 


architecture of the Anglo-Saxons,* that, in their arches and 
piers, llie Normans are believed by Mr. Wilkins to have differed 
from the Romans still more widely than their Saxon precursors. 
In the extract there presented, this popular writer in the archao- 
logia conjectures the height of tiie Saxon column to be from four 
to six diameters, while that of the Norman, in the instances 
'which he produces, is only two diameters. It is, however, ap- 
prehended that such an estimate respecting the height of the 
columns, or piers, in Anglo-Norman buildings, will not admit of 
general application.f 

Proceeding in an examination of the architectaral characteris- 
tics of the Anglo-Normans, Mr. Wilkins observes that " the 
semicircular and intersected arches, the ziu-zag ornament, the 
billet moulding, hatched-work, and various other species of orna- 
ment were still continued ; and, though architecture cannot be 
said to have improved on the Saxon manner, either in lightness 
or in execution ; yet, in magnitude of design, the Normans far 
exceeded their predecessors. The buttress of this style varies 
extremely from the Gothic" (or pointed) " which succeeded it; 
they are broad and flat on the surface, without ornament, unless 
a torus on the angles, which is sometimes to be met with, may 
be called such. The buttress, even in large buildings, seldom 
projects more than seventeen or eighteen inches. 

" The only mouldings used, both by the Saxon and Norman 
architects, were the torus, the scotia or reversed torus, the ca* 
velto or hollow moulding, and a kind of chamfered fascia, which 
latter was generally used for imposts or abacuses to their capitals. 
These mouldings were combined, more or less, for the various 
purposes of forming arches, imposts, cornices, bases, &c. The 
cima recta, the cima rever^a, the ovolo or quarter round, the 


• Vide Ante, p. 274. 
t See some remarks on this subject, witli a notice of a deriation from the 
scale proposed by Mr. Wilkins, ia the description, &c. of Ely Cathedral, by 
(jeorge Millers, M. A. p. 27, 


planierCfd^nd other regular Grecian motUdings, cornices, friezes, 
&.C. which compose the entablature, are never to be met with in 
the Saxon or Norman fabrics. Yet their builders were more fond 
of variety, for it may be freqiienily observed inarans;e of columns 
there are as many different capitals."* 

The few constituent forms of mouldings used by Anglo-Nor- 
man architects, are scientifically mentioned in the above extract. 
The varieties of ornamental combination are, however, very great. 
Distinctive names are applied to many ; but others have not re- 
ceived an appellation, eitlier from architectural or antiquarian 

We have seen, in a previous section, that Mr. King ventures 
to make an extensive enumeration of ornamental mouldings, sup- 
posed by himself to be peculiar to such buildings, in the circular, 
massive, style, as were erected by the Anglo-Saxons.f In such 
a hardihood of designation the author of Munimenta Antiqua 
stands, I believe, single and unsupported. His precursors and 
followers in the investigation of our ancient architecture, appear 
to admit, that most, if not all, the mouldings observable in those 
rare and curious remains which many would fain believe to be of 
Saxon construction (and which, perhaps, are so) may be found 
in structures of an authentic Norman origin. 

The reader has already been presented with a statement of the 
principal decorated mouldings, which, in the opinion of Mr. Bent- 
ham, may be found in remains of Anglo-Saxon architecture. 

These, it will he recollected, are described under the names of 
the chevron-work, or zig-zag', the embattled frette ; the trian- 
gular frette; and the nail head. The same are well-known to 
be common in Anglo-Norman buildings; and, in conjunction with 
those noticed in the following page, comprise the mouldings 
chiefly prevailing in churches erected under Norman patronage in 
this country. 

* Archafcol. Vol. XII. p. 160. 
^ Vide Ante, p. 278. 


The Billeted moulding, vltich has many varieties. An idea 
of its ordinary form may be obtained, by supposing that a cylinder 
" sliould be cut into small pieces, of equal length, and these 
stuck on, alternately, round the face of the arches ; as in the 
ehoir of Peterborough; at St. Cross; and round the windows of 
the upper tier on the outside of the nave at Ely. This ornament 
was often used" (as also were others common to the circular 
style) " for a fascia, band, or fillet, round the outside of build? 
ings.'* The Corbel table, " consisting of a series of small 
arches, without pillars, but with heads of men and animals, 
serving instead of corbels, or brackets, to support them; which 
they placed below the parapet, projecting over the upper, and 
sometimes the middle, tier of windows.'^ The Hatched mould- 
ing was used both on the faces of the arches, and for a fascia on 
the outside. It appears "as if cut with the point of an ax, at 
regular distances, and so left rough." The Nebule may be de- 
scribed as a projection terminating by an undulating line. Ex- 
amples are frequeut; one, sufficiently conspicuous, is named by 
Mr. Bentham, as occurring " under the upper range of windows at 

Among the ornaments of Anglo-Norman buildings may b« 
noticed " ranges of arches, which occur where there was nothing 
to support, and were intended to fill up void spaces, interior or 
exterior, and relieve a uniformity that might prove unpleasing." 

These are very common on the west front, and on the inside 
of north and south walls; and they " sometimes intersect each 
other, and so produce those compartments which are t>elieved by 
several writers to have given the first hint of the pointed arch.*' 
Mr. Millers, (wiiose descriptive terms I have adopted in this 
paragraph) observes that the mouldings most frequently used 
by the Normans were the chevron work, or zig-zag; the em- 
battled frette; the triangular frette; the nail-head; the billet; 


? Hist, of Ely Cathedral, p. 35. 


thft cable; the hatched; the lozenge; the wavey ; the pellet 
moulding; and theiiebule.* 

In an ingenious essay on ''The Antiquity, and the different 
modes of, brick and stone buildings in £nglaud/' by the late 
Mr. Essex, are presented many remarks on tlie Anglo-Norman 
methods of constructing the walls, and other parts of large 
buildings. An abridged statement of the principal of these ob- 
servations, can scarcely fail of being acceptable. 

In Norman churches, where large pillars are used, " the outer 
feciags are generally composed of squared stones, laid in regu- 
lar courses, and the middle filled with cement. f Such were the 
pillars in the old cathedral of St. Paul, in London, and those of 
Ely, Peterborough, and many others of that age ; and the outer 
walls of these churches are of the same sort of masonry, the mid- 
dle of them being filled with cement between two faces of squared 
stones, or, an outside facing of squared stones, and a facing of 
flat rough stones within. But, where they built with pillars of 
smaller diameters, they used squared stones, which made a regu- 
lar bond through every course. This was practised by tlie 
Romans, and called by Vitruvius Insertum." It was used, also, 
according to Mr. Essex, by "Saxon builders, in round and octan- 
gular pillars in the conventual church at Ely, and in other 
places; and it is frequently found in buildings erected soon aAer 
the Conquest; and when arch buttresses were introduced, they 
generally constructed them with this sort of masonry, being ths 
strongest and most beautiful." 

It is observable that in most of the Norman [and, as Mr. Essex 
believes, in all Saxon buildings] " the walls, pillars, and arches 
are composed of such small stones, that the courses seldom ex- 

• Observations on English church architecture, in a description of the 
Cathedral church of Ely, &c. by George Millers, M. A. 

4 An attempt was made, some years back, to flute several of the pillars m 
Gloucester cathedral, when it was discovered that they were filled up, on 
the inside, only with loose irregular stones. Cough's additions to Camden, 
Vol. I. p. 271, 


eeed seven or cig}it inches, and very often we find them less, not' 
'withstanding they could procure larger stones, though they sel- 
dom used them, but for bases or capitals to their pillars, or for 
some particular parts of their work, where they thought large 
stones were necessary." The Norman modes of construction are, 
in almost every variety, referable to a Roman origin; and, in the 
above instance, their builders evidently followed the standard 
direction of Vitruvius. 

Among those several kinds of masonry *' which were intro- 
duced by the Romans themselves, or by foreigners who were 
brought hither to build after the Roman manner, is that called 
opus reticulatum, (or network.) The beauty of this work arose 
from the form of the stones, which were perfectly square; and 
from the disposition of them, which was diagonal; and the joints 
appearing like the meshes of a net, it thence acquired its name. 
But the disposition of the stones, for which it was chiefly admired, 
being contrary to nature and reason, soon discovered its want of 
strength. Therefore, the Saxon and Norman masous, knowing 
its defects, used it only as an ornament in their frontons, and 
filling of arches. Examples of which may be seen at Lincoln* 
Ely, Peterborough, Rochester, and other Norman buildings: 
but it was quite laid aside before the time of Henry the Third." 

It is remarked by Mr. Essex, that the Normans frequently 
raised large buildings with pebbles only; and, sometimes, with 
pebbles intermixed with rag-stones. Of these he has noticed 
three sorts. " The first is that of pebbles only ; the outside of 
the wall being laid in regular courses, with stones of nearly the 
same bigness; and the angles of the wall strengthened with 
squared stones. The next is with pebbles and rags, having the 
angles fortified with squared stones, about two feet high, and six 
or seven inches square, which were tied into the wall by flat 
square stones about six or seven inches thick, laid on the top of 
them." This appears to have been the prevailing mode of build- 
ing in Cambridgeshire, in the time of William Rufus; and may 
be 8e«D in the church of St. Giles, in Cambridge, and in the 



lower of St. Benedict's church. The third sort of masonry, com- 
posed of pebbles and rag-stones, " has two or three feet of pel>- 
bles, or rags, laid regularly; and above them several courses 
of rag-stones, laid angularly, or in manner of herring-bone 

A mode of building so -rough and coarse, required a coat of 
plaister to render it pleasing to the eye. 

Accordingly, we find " that those small churches, and other 
buildings, which were constructed in this manner, were always 
plaistered on the inside, and frequently on the outside, with a 
composition of lime and sand;" the remains of which maybe 
traced in many Norman churches, together with such as Mr. 
Essex attributes to the Saxons; and, also, in some that are mor« 
modern.'—" In churches which were built, in the eleventh cen- 
tury, with wall-tiles, after tlie Roman manner, the walls, pil- 
lars, and arches, were finished, within and without, with the 
same kind of plaisterinir, or stucco; as may be seen in the 
ancient parts of the abbey church of St. Alban's."* 

Such leading characteristics of Anglo-Norman architecture, as 
are essential towards a discrimination between this mode and the 
fashion by which it was succeeded, are stated, it is hoped with 
sufficieul perspicuity, in the course of the above remarks. It is 
unquestionable that the massy, cumbrous, and vast style of the 
Normans, underwent several changes, as to paucity or abuud- 
ance in ornament — application of mouldings to arches — and 
various minute circumstances of decoration — before it was sup- 
planted by that light and beautiful mode which met with univer- 
sal adoption when once a finished example was exhibited, be- 
cause it allowed utibonaded excdrsious of taste and fancy in ages 
prolific of archilecliiral genius ;— then the great auxiliary of 
sacerdotal dignity, and even of religion itself. 


• Remarks on the Antiquity, &c. of brick and stone buildings 'tk Eag- 
laud, Archsol. Voi. IV. 


The study of arclritectural antiquities is still iu its infancy in 
this country. Much has been written upon this topic, in a gene- 
ral way ; but, irk the works of those who first laboriously and 
heavily pursued antiquarian knowledge, we find a lamentable 
neglect of such enquiries concerning the peculiarities of buildings, 
as might assist in displaying the temper, manners, and profici- 
ency in the arts, of determinate remote ages. 

Leland, although possessed of a fine taste, wa§ led, by the 
peculiarity of the times, to bestow his principal attention on the 
manuscripts contained in religious houses, — treasures of curiosity 
^vhich he saw falling into destruction, and some knowledge con- 
cerning which he endeavoured to preserve, as the best offering 
that he could present to posterity. 

Camden, iu his vast undertaking, had at once (as is observed 
by Bishop Gibson) " to remove the rubbish, lay the foundation, 
and raise the fabric," of a chorographical history of Britain. 
When we consider the comprehensive nature of his design, and 
the difficulties under which belaboured in forming a solid ground- 
work of information, we can scarcely be surprised at finding that 
he entirely declined dissertations on the architecture of those 
ancient and splendid structures which were spread around him in 
his travels. But this is a matter worthy of deep regret ; as 
an august host of buildings, now almost deprived of distinguish- 
ing features by the dilapidation of " evil days," were then scarcely 
worn into the character of ruins. 

The bulk of our early connty histories are truly described by 
Mr. Gough, as consisting of " incorrect pedigrees, futile etymo- 
logies, verbose disquisitions, crowds of epitaphs, lists of land- 
holders, and such farrago, thrown together without method, un- 
aniraated by reflections, and delivered in the most uncouth and 
horrid style;" their authors having, "trodden only in mazes 
overgrown with thorns, neglecting the flowery paths with which 
the wilderness of obscurity is diversified."* 

The pursuits of that learned body to which the country natu- 

• British Topograpliy, Preface, p. 21, 22. 


rally looks for inrormation on this subject, the society of Aati- 
quaries, have only in years comparatively recent, been seriously 
addressed to enquiries concerning the history and characteristics 
of our ancient architecture. 

Benthaui, Gray, and Warton afforded bright examples, vhichj, 
perhaps, the free and elegant pen of Horace Walpole (Earl of 
Orford) greatly assisted in rendering objects of emulation in the 
esteem of the polite, as well as the erudite. 

Aided by such incitements^ the investigation of the ancient 
architecture of this island has been adopted, on the only judicious 
principle, and one that was too long neglected, — that of local, 
scientific, enquiry, and an appropriation of styles upon the se- 
cure basis of analogy, proceeding from data of unquestionable 
authority. Muih may be expected from the exertion of talent so 
well directed, if sustained by public encouragement; But this 
union of energy and judgment is only of late occurrence: and ii 
must be repeated, that a knowledge of the architectural anti« 
quities of this country is still of an infantile and unintelligent 

A variety of styles, in regard to the character and disposal of 
ornaments, if not sufficiently distinguished to admit of a posi- 
tive classification, is observable in the ecclesiastical bnildings of 
the Anglo-Normans. The appropriation of these to respective 
ages must depend on such a careful investigation, and comparison 
of the mouldings of arches, and other particulars of architectural 
decoration, as is not known to have been yet carried into eflect. 
An attempt of this kind could be executed only in a regular and 
extensive work of art, and will scarcely be expected in a volume 
embracing so many topics as the present. Wiiile subject to the 
want of a satisfactory dissertation, the following remarks may act 
as useful outlines of information. 

If we rely on that statement of Dr. Ducarel, which is noticed 
in previous pages of this section, we shall find cause for believing 
that the architectural style prevailing in the early part of the 
conqueror's age, was marked by great plainness ; the heavy round 

2 C arches^ 


drches, and the narrow vrindows, of the two buildings of St. 
Stephen and the Holy Trinity at Caen, having few enriched 
mouldings ; and all other parts of those structures, both withia 
and on the exterior, being destitute of sculptural decorations. 

But the inference arisiug from the above intelligence conveyed 
by Dr. Ducarel, must by no means be wrought int(» a rule of 
severe application, in regard to the first buildings of the Nor- 
mans in this country. It is, however, to be ascertained that 
such structures were sometimes of a plainer desciiption than those 
raised in succeeding years; an instance of which may be remarked 
in the chapel of St. John, in the Tower of liondon.* 

The observations of two writers, whose opinions upon this sub- 
ject are rendered of additional value by their professional pursuits, 
may be adduced, in illustration of the procedure of Anglo-Nor- 
man architectural taste in early ages. 

" In the eleventh century," writes Mr, Wilkins (unfortunately 
tsing terms of too general a character, for the wishes and pur- 
pose of the critical enquirer) " some alterations in the Saxon 
style of architecture took place. They were introduced by the 
Normans, and were executed in a very rough massive way at 
first; but, in a short time they became more expert workmen. 
We find them improving in their workmanship until the middle 


♦ This curious cliapel was erected for King William the First, by Bishop 
Gundulph. It is distinguished b^' massive simplicity ; the arches, and every 
part of the building, excep't the capitals of some of the columns, being en* 
tirejy destitute of ornament. 

The weighty columns arc uniformly round and plain ; their plinths square 
and unornamented. The capitals are all square, but are uot entirely similar 
in any other respect. Their studied want of uniformity is, however, less 
striking tban in many other Anglo-Norman slractures, and ornament is be- 
stowed on (hem with a very rigid hand. The cross is the embellishment most 
trpquent ; and that holy emblem is displayed on the capitals of many succes- 
sive columns. 

The capitals partaking most freely of decoration are those two which are 
«p!>o*cd to each oiher, at the western termination of the structure. These 
LaTC iLe cable moulding; a narrow biilct; and a lozenge moulding. 


of the 12th century, in almost every province in the kingdom, 
particularly at Rochester under the superiiitendaiice of Bishop 
Gunduiph, whose skill and expertnessin masonry caused it there 
to be styled Gundulph's Architecture. Ernulph, a native of 
France, soon after the death of Gunduiph, was promoted to the 
abbacy of Peterborough. He, also, became proficient in this 
style of building; and various specimens of his taste are still 
to be seen at Rochester, Canterbury, Peterborough, &c."* 

Mr. J. A. Repton, in a contribution towards Mr. Brittou's His> 
tory and Antiquities of the Cathedral church of Norwich, re- 
marks that ** the style called Norman is well known by the 
semicircular arches, the squarc-heuded capitals and bases of the 
columns, and tlie massive contour of the mouldings. The archi- 
tecture of the Saxons and the early Normans, (that is, from the 
lime of the Conquest to Henry the First,) is extremely massive; 
not only iu the general design of the building, but also in the 
det^iil of mouldings, &c. Soon after the reign of Henry the 
First, the heavy character of the Norman style began gradually 
to partake of more elegant forms: the capitals of the columns be- 
came lighter, though with bolder projections; the mouldings of 
the arches and cornices were more delicately finished; the bead 
mouldings began to change their massive forms, and towards the 
reigns of Henry the Second, and Richard the First, they were 
ornamented with fillets and ogees; the hollow mouldings were 
more open; the square shape of the abacus of the capital of 
columns was changed, by degrees, into the octangular, or cir- 
cular, forms, while the contour of the arch-mouldings began to 
lose their square outline, and to sweep round with the shape of 
the columns."f 

An instance of the early Anglo-Norman mode, together with 
an exception from the prevalence of a uniform style iu the sam& 

2 C 2 age, 

• Essay towards a History of the Venta Icencrum cf the Romani, &e. 
Aschaeol. Vol. XII. 

^ Briitoa's Historjr and Aotiquities of Norwich Cathedral, p. 38. 


age, is afforcled in the followintj contiiiaation of Mr. Reptou's ob- 
servations: — "The earliest part of Norwich Cathedral, began 
aboat the reign of William Rufus, still retains its cumbrous and 
mhssive character; and tl)« same style is continued through the 
nave, although raised in the reign of Henry the First. This 
seems to have been done to preserve uniformity in the whole 
buildinir. It should be observed, however, that the plainness 
er the richness of a building is no proof of its antiquity ; because 
the same Bishop (Herbert, consecrated in 1094,) who founded 
this cathedral, adopted tlie plain and massive style, as being ap« 
plicable to a stroctore on a great scale ; but, on the contrary, in 
erecting the monks' houses (commonly called the dormitory) a 
small building of nearly the same date as the cathedral, he dis- 
played a considerable degree of taste in the richness and light- 
ness of design."* 

Mr. Bordon, in a letter to the author of tiie " Architectural 
Antiquities," supposes that " it is not very difficult to distin- 

rORE. The early, which began before the Conquest, and of 
wliich Waltliaro, Durham, &c. are specimens j the >/}ir/c//«, which 
is the style of Peterborongh, Malmsbury, &c. and the latter, 
which is that of Lincoln, the choir of Canterbury, &c."f 

This scheme appears to be worthy of attention ; but the opi- 
nions of its author are not sufficiently defined to admit of useful 
application. It is, however, founded on a principle which all 
local and historical examination proves to be correct: — that the 
architecture of the Anglo-Normans progressively increased in 
ornament and skilfulness of execution: the whole detail of em* 
l)ellishments becoming less weighty and rude in each new age, 
and gradually ameliorating towards the delicacy of the pointed 
style, and its attendant crowd of luxuriant beauties. 


* Btiiton's History and Antiquities of Norwich cathetlral, j* 28, with a 
teitMeiicc to Arcliaiologia, Vol. XV. ; 

+ Arcltitcctaral AHtiquitics, Vol. III. p. SiC* 


That the exchange of tlie heavy circular arch for that of the 
I'S^it^ graceful, and pointed form, was not a circumstance of ab- 
rupt transition, but proctede'l at first with reluctant steps and 
an intermixture of .styles, is sufficiently evident, although seve> 
ral authors have iiisinaated to the contrary. The following pas- 
sage in Mr, Benthani's History of the Cathedral church of Ely, 
is open to such an interpretation : — " It cannot be expected that 
we should be able to enumerate all the decorations which the 
Saxons and Normans made use of, for they designed variety in 
the choice of them ; but a judicious antiquarian, who has made 
the prevailing modes of architecture in distant times his study, 
will be able to form very probable conjectures concerning the 
age of most of these ancient structures ; the alterations that have 
been made in them, since their first erection, will often discover 
themselves to his eye. Perhaps the most usual change he will 
find in them is in the form of the windows ; for, in many of our 
oldest churches, I mean such as were built within the first age 
after the Conquest, the windows, which were originally round- 
headed, have since been altered for others of a more modern date, 
with pointed arches. Instances of this kind are numerous, and 
may often be <liscovered, by examining the courses of the stone- 
work about them: unless the outward face of the building was 
new caavd at the time of their insertion, as it sometimes happen- 
ed : without attending to this, we shall be at a loss to account 
for that mixture of round and pointed arches we often meet with 
in the same building."* 

That such alterations were frequent, is undoubted ; and the 
above extract afibrds a criterion for distinguishing the result of 
innovation from the desitrn of the first builder. But the pointed 
arch appears in the original parts of structures where Anglo> 
Norman features have delerminalely the ascendant, long before " 
that mode of architecture of which it forms a characteristic, was 

2 C 3 ♦* methodised 

• liist. of Elj Cathedral, p. Sa-^Sd. 


methodised into a system, and can be denominated a style. And 
this fact is noticed by Mr. Bentham, in a subsequent page.* 

The exact date at which arches of a pointed construction were 
first used, is a subject unsettled by antiquarian discussion, and is 
of little importance in the present section of our work. In regard 
to their character and disposal, where intermingled with the pre- 
dominating circular style, I profit by the words of Mr. Millers: — 
Before the end of the period usually ascribed to the Anglo-Nor- 
man mode, and even early in it, " some instances are found of 
pointed arches — they are sparingly introduced-^one or more tiers 
of them appear at the top of a building, all the lower ones being 
round — sometimes they are alternate — sometimes one is inserted, 
capriciously as it were, among several round — they are, for the 
most part, obtusely, but, in some instances, even sharply pointed 
•—but are always wide — standing on heavy columns, or garnished 
with mouldings, or both.— -There was a third sort of arch, some- 
timer, but very rarely, occurring. It is called the horse-shoe 
arch, and is an arc of a circle somewhat greater than the semi- 

To which it may be added, that these pointed arches, origi- 
nally interspersed in buildings of the circular style, are usually 
ornamented with the zig-zag, or other mouldings charactrristie 
of the architectural fashion which preceded the English. 

Instances of this intermixture of dissimilar arches may be 
noticed in the nrdernamed buildings, among many others; 
church of iS"^. Cross, near Winchester, erected about 1130; 
Temple Church, London, 1172; Mahishury Abbey Church, 
Wiltshire ; Landaf Cathedral ; and Lanthoni Abbey, MonmonXh- 
shire. It may be observed, that the same mixture of arches oc- 

• Vide, History of the Cathedial church of Ely, p 37. 
♦ Description of ttie Cathe<.'ral cliiirchof Ely, &c. by George Millers, 1\I. A. 
p. 22. — The ovate flat arch was sonictinirs used by the Anglo-Normans, as 
in the instance of the westirn entrance to ihe churcli pf Harrow-on-the Hill, 
Middlesex, built by Archbishop Latifraitc, 


«urs in the church of Barfreston, Kent, which Mr. King, and 
several other writers, have attributed to the Saxon era. 

During this struggle between the two forms, it would appear 
that the architects of buildings llien erecting, frequently dis- 
played incongruous arches,, for the purpose of exhibiting their 
comparative merits to public notice. The final issue of the con- 
test will shortly be stated, together with the magnificent efifect 
on ecclesiastical architecture, of the triumph obtained by scien- 
tific lightness over rude solidity. 

In the absence of any decisive criteria for appropriating vari»» 
tions in Anglo-Norman architecture to determinate ages, the 
object of the investigator may he, in a qreat measure, advanced, 
by an enumeration of some principal structures which exhibit 
characteristics of this style. To facilitate enquiry, the date of 
erection will be affixed^ wh«te attainable, to each building cited 
as a conspicuous example. 

Such a catalogue of these works (often stupendous, and al- 
most uniformly evincing a grandeur of views) must be properly 
introduced by an observation respecting tlje station in life of the 
architects to whom they are chiefly ascribed. The reader will 
recollect, to tlie honour of a race of ecclesiastics, often named 
with exceptless, overwhelming, obloquy by the inconsiderate, 
that the great architects of the Anglo-Norman ages are to be 
found in the lists of dignified clergy. Several of the most dis- 
tinguished may be thus noticed, from a statenient made by Mr. 
Dallaway : 

" We have the following enumeration of Norman bishops, who 
were either architects tliemselves, or under whose- auspices ar- 
chitecture flourished. Gundulph of Rochester (1077-1107.) 
Mauritius of London (1088-1108) built old St. Paul's cathedral. 
Roger of Salisburi/ (1107-1140,) the Cathedral at Old Sarum. 
Eniu/f of Rochester (lIlo-lTiO) completed bishop Gundulph's 
work there. They were both monks of Bee, in Normandy. 
Alexander o(lj\uco\n (1123-1147) rebuilt his Cathedral. Ilcnrij 
of Blots, bishop of Winchester (1129-1169,) a most cele! rated 

2 C 4 r.rthite 


architect, built the conventual churches of St. Cross and Runi" 
sey, in Hampshire; and, lastly, Roger, archbishop of York 
(1154-1181,) where none of liis work remains. By these archi- 
tects the Norman manner was progressively brought to perfec- 
tion in England; and it will be easily supposed, that the im- 
provements made by any of thera were adopted in succession.'** 

To the above list must be added the names of Lanfranc, con- 
spicuous for his works at Canterbury; Thomas, equally cele- 
brated at York; Walkelin, at Winchester; Retnigius, at Lin- 
coln ; William, at Durham ; Robert, at Hereford j Herbert, at 
Norwich; and St. Anselm, at Chester. 

The Cathedral churches of England, although much altered 
by the innovations (munificent, and often gatifying) of succeed- 
ing ages, still ej^hibit the most satisfactory specimens of the 
style at present under consideration. The sublimity of Anglo- 
Norman architecture was, indeed, displayed in these edifices to 
its utmost height ; and it impresses reverence, even in mutilation, 
and now that the general effect for which the designer laboured, 
is no more, 

Mr. Bentham observes, that " there is, perhaps, hardly any 
one of our Cathedral churches, of the early Norman style (marked 
by round arches and large pillars) remaining entire, though they 
were all originally so built; but specimens of it may still be seen 
in most of them. The greatest parls of the cathedrals of Dur- 
ham; Carlisle; Ciitster; Peterborough; Norwich; Rocliesler; 
Chichester; Oxford; Worcester; Wells; and Hereford; the 
tower and transept of Winchester; the nave of Gloucester; the 
nave and transept of Ely; the two towers of Exeter; some re- 
mains in the middle of the west front of Lincoln, with the lower 
parts of tlie two towers there; in Canterbury, great part of the 
choir, formerly called Conrade's choir (more ornamented titan 
usual) ; the two towers, called St. Gregory's and St. Anselm's, 
|ind the nurth-west lower, of the same church.— York and I.ich* 


t |)*|law8y'« Englisli Architecture, p. tO. 


field have had all their parts so entirely rebuilt, at separate times, 
since the disuse of ronnd arches, that little, or nothing, of the 
old Norman work appears in them at this day. The present 
Cathedral church of Salisbury is the only one that never had any 
mixture of this early Norman style in its composition."* 

The above extract is presented, as it forms a useful compen- 
dium of iuformat:on concerning- the cathedrals in which vestiges 
of Anglo-Norman architecture are most conspicuous. In the 
subjoined Table of Examples, the Anglo-Norman parts of 
cathedral buildings are stated somewhat more explicitly than was 
necessary to the design of Mr. Bentham's work, together with 
the probable dates of erection, as afforded by the most accept- 
able authorities. 

My enumeration of Cathedrals exhibiting specimens of tliis 
etyle, is followed by that of some Parochial churches (several 
of which were formerly conventual,) and of the principal Ruins of 
Monastic structures which have so far survived the ravages of 
interest and ignorance, as to retain a melancholy memorial of 
their founders, in traces of the architectural style which pre- 
vailed when those generous persons flourished in rude but vene- 
rable pomp, and expended what hospitality could spare, in adorn- 
ing the land with tributes of fanciful piety. 

In regard to that part of the annexed list which relates to 
Parochial churches, it will be obvious that we have, very rarely, 
an opportunity of ascertaining the precise date of erection, on 
written testimony. The periods of foundation, repair, and addi- 
tion, in such buildings as were connected with monastic institu- 
tions, were frequently chronicled by inmates of the establish- 
ment; but the structure raised by the manorial lord had no de- 
voted pen to record its architectural history. The date of erec- 
tion is, therefore, usually presumptive; and calculations con- 
cerning it proceed from an analogy of style with superior edifices, 
Vfhose origin is authenticated. A ray of information, however, 


« Hist, of EJy Catbedril, p.3 ■ 


is sometimes derived from commemorative inscriptions, attached 
to tlie buildings. Many of these, recording the foundation and 
consecration^ are collected in Pegge's " Sylloge of Remaining 
Inscriptions/' article " second series, beginning at the Norman 

The reader m\\ perceive that a few instances only are addnced* 
It will not be supposed that this Table of Enumeration is intend* 
ed to present a view of the whole Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical 
antiquities remaining in England. — A selection has been made of 
such specimens as are most amply noticed in the " Beauties.*' 
Frequently, parts only of the buildings cited, contain Anglo- 
Norman vestiges ; but those instances in which circular door- 
ways alone remain, are not mentioned. These are numerous in 
every district ; and some remarks have already been submitted, 
concerning I he probable cause of their preservation.* The ex- 
amples of Parochial churches are arranged in counties, enumerated 
alphabetically, in attention to the mode observed in describing 
the " Beauties of England and Wales." 

Several Norman churches may, unquestionably, be found 
amongst those attributed by some writers to the Anglo-Saxons, 
and which are mentioned as buildings thus conjecturally ascribed, 
in a previous section. Where there appear strong reasons for 
appropriating such structures to the era under notice, those 
chniehes are again cited. This, however, has been done only 
upon grounds which appeared to be secure. Thus, the church 
of Iffley, in Oxfordshire, is said by Mr. Wartonf to have been 
built by a bishop of Lincoln, in the 12th century; but, as his 
authority for such an assertion cannot be discovered, I have not 
adduced that building as a positive example of Anglo-Norman 
architecture- — St. Peter's in the East, one of the most curious 
ancient ornaments of Oxford (a city so rich in subjects of anti- 
quarian investigation,) is supposed, by a recent writer in a work 


• Vide Ante. p. 269— S70, note. 
i Historjr of Kiddington, p. 4. 


of high respectability, to be probably referable " to the Norman 
sera." Bat, ia my brief index to such buildiugs in the circular 
style as are mentioned in the " Beauties," I deem it desirable to 
state this church of St. Peter, as a building quite open to the 
enquiries of the ingenious. 


Bristol. — The Chapter-house, and Elder Lady Chapel (a 
structure on the north side of the Cathedral) present vestiges of 
the original edifice, begun about the year 1160. B&auties for 
Somersetshire, p. 664 — 669, with an engraved view.* 

Canterbcry. — The tower on the north-west appears to have 
been built by Archbishop Lanfranc, between the years 1070 and 
1089; but has experienced some alteration. A rich display of 
Norman architecture, ascribed to the same period, comirences in 
the vicinity of St. Michael's chapel, which adjoins the south 
transept. The " side walls of the aisles of the choir, as well as 
parts of the east transept, are of Norman architecture, and un- 
questionably formed part of Lanfrauc's Cathedral, though they 
are somewhat obscured by alterations in the pointed style." The 
groining of the roof, in the north aisle, is of the time of Henry 
the Second, aud is ornamented with zig-zag mouldings. Other 
parts of* this magnificent building, still retaining traces of Anglo- 
Norman architecture, are noticed in the description presented in 
4be Beauties for Kent, p. 830—875. 

Carlisle. — The nave and transept exhibit some massive re- 

* Such pages of the Beauties of England as are referred to, in regard tn 
each Cathedral mentioned in this list, contain a description of that baild- 
ing. Some additional particaiars, concerning the dates of erection. &c. ar«f 
in several instances, collected from other sources. It is possible that defi- 
ciencies and errors may be discovered ; bat, where they do not proceed 
from a want of research or care, the indulgence of the reader is corfidentlj 


mains, supposed to be of the iatter part of the 11th century. 
Beauties foi Cumberland, p. 85—89, with an engraved view. 

Chichester. — Although this structure suffered by fire, about 
the year 1187, it affords an interesting example of the archi- 
tecture of au earlier period. The more ancient parts are of a 
plain and weighty character, and are believed to have been 
built after 1114, and before 1123. Beauties for Sussex, p. 37 

Durham. — This fine and impressive fabric presents, through- 
out the whole of its most important parts, instructive lemains 
of Norman architecture. It was founded in 1093, and the walls 
were completed, nearly to the roof, before the year 1133. Beau- 
ties for Durham, p. 38—44. 

Ely. — The great western tower, up to the first battlements, 
was built by Bishop Ridel, who died in 1189. The transepts are 
of the reign of Henry the First. The nave and its aisles, " ex» 
cept the windows of the second tier, and those of the lower, all 
but three on the south side, are in the Anglo-Norman style, and 
were" chiefly finished, as is believed, in the year 1174.* 
Beauties for Cambridgeshire, p. 161 — 164, with an engraved 

Exeter.— The towersf were erected by Bishop Warlewast, 
between the years 1100 and 1128. Some alterations, however, 
have been effected in the north tower. Architectural remains, 
probably of the same age, may be seen in the transepts ; but the 
later pointed mode is greatly preponderant in this structure. 
Beauties for Devonshire, p. 54—73. 

Gloucester. — The lower part of the nave, the aisles round 
the choir, ^nd the crypt, are believed to have been erected be- 

• Descripfion of Ely Cathedral, &c. bjG. Millers, MA- In thf same 
work are noticed several less important parts of Ely Cathedral, which we 
also in the Anglo- Norman st^Ie. 

* Two views of the towers of Exeter cathedral are given in the Beauties 
f»r Devonshire. 


tween the years 1058 and 1104. Beauties for Gloucestershire, 
p. 639 — 550, with an engraving. 

Hereford. — This cathedral, although much altered in th« 
modes of various eras, presents considerable specimens of the 
latter part of the tleventli, and the early years of the twelfth 
centuries. The Anglo-Norman divisions of this structure were 
commenced shortly after ti)e year 1079, and were nearly com- 
pleted before 1115. Beauties for Herefordshire, p. 468 — 476, 
ii?ith an engraved view. 

Lincoln. — Owing to accident from fire, and other more ordi- 
nary causes, producing a great commixture of styles, there is 
much difficulty in appropriating the ancient pcrtiou.s of this build- 
ing to distinct ages; but, amidst the splendour of renovation and 
improvement, are still to be seen many parts, probably erected 
between tiie years 10S6 and 1147. The foundations were laid 
in the former year, but the structure was greatly injured by fire, 
about 1127. The lower division of the centre of the grand 
western front, affords an example of highly-ornHiuented Anglo- 
Norman architecture.* Beauties for Lincolnshire, p. 627 — 

Norwich. — The east end; the choir and its aisles; the cha- 
pels of Jesus and St. Luke ; and the transepts ; are ascribed to 
the date of 1096. The nave and its aisles, to that of 1122, 
Beauties for Norfolk, p. 147—158. 

Oxford. — The Anglo-Norman parts of this edifice were pro- 
bably erected between the years IJll and 1190, or in years 
nearly circumscribed by those dates. Beauties for Oxfoixishire, 
p. 138—142, with a print. 

Peterborough. — The choir, with its aisles, from the circular 
extremity at the east, to the commencement of the transept on 
the west, was begun in 1118, and completed in 1143. The 
transept was erected between the years 1150, and 1177. The 


* An engraved view of tlie western front of this cathedral is given in tho 
Beaaties for Lincolnshire. 


nave and its aisles, to tlie termination of the pilfars vhich dU 
Tide the nave and side aisles on the west, are believed to Lave 
been built between the years 1177 and 1193, Beaaties for Nor- 
thamptonshire, p. 234—236, with a print. 

Rochester. — Great parts of the nave, and the west front, to* 
gelher with the tower between the transepts on the north side, 
-were baillby Bishop Gundolph, who died in the year 1108. The 
west front is a splendid instance of AngIo->ioruiaii architec- 
ture. The ruins of the chapter-house exhibit a style rather later. 
This building was erected by Bishop Ernulph, who died in 1124. 
Beauties for Kent, p. 639 — 653, with views of the west door, and 
of the interior. 

Wells. — Parts of the nave and choir. Beauties for Somerset- 
shire, p. 484 — 487, with a view of the interior. 

Winchester.-— The tower and transepts are Anglo-Norman 
works, and were completed in 1093. Many windows of the tran- 
septs, however, have been altered in various fashions. Tiie tower 
is a fine and interesting specimen. Beauties for Hampshire, 
p. 49 — 81, with a print. 

Worcester. — The choir, and several other parts which exhi- 
bit traces of the circular style, are believed to have been erected 
between 1084 and 1089. Beauties for Worcestershire, p. 61 — 83. 



Time of Ereclion. Noticed in the Beautit*. 

^llZ'.^"!l!:.!^."".!*':l ' '^^-^ { P- ^9-23, with a print. 

Elstow church, part ofl |j,„ ,^i - ,, „ C 




Time of Ertction. Noticed in the Beautitt. 
St. Sepulchre's, Cam-") n .,,,,• C 
bridge, [circular r'"°f^l^'eVr/l'!!!"{^ 

The church of Stunt.- 
ney, and the chapel of 
Stcrebridge, in this 
county , are good spe- 
cimens of the Anglo- 
Norman style ; but 
are not noticed in the 
Beauties for Cam- 
bridgeshire, on ac- 
count of the narrow 
limits to which that 
division of the work 
is confioed. 


♦ While noticing this building, it appears desirable to offer a few remarti 
«)t the subject of Rou7id Churches, of which we have, in England, four ex- 
amples remaining almost perfect: — St. Sepulchre'i church, Cambridge; St. 
Sepulchre's church, Korthampton ; the Temple church, London ; and the 
ahureh of Little Mapkstcd, Essex. 

A vulgar opinion long prevailed, that these curious structures were the works 
of the Jews ! Enquirers into the history of our ancient architecture were dis- 
abused of such a notion by the late Mr. Essex, who published an essay on the 
subject of rouud churches, in the sixth volume of the Archaeologia. A more 
comprehensive dissertation has since been produced by Mr, Britton, in the 
first volume of his Architectural Antiquities, together with additional remarks 
by an ingenious correspondent of that gentleman, Charles Clarke, Esq. F.S. A . 

In regard to the mistake of attributing these buildings to the Jews, Mr. 
Essex observes, thai " their temple at Jerusalem was not of the circular form, 
neither was the tabernacle of Moses ; nor do -we find the modern Jews affect 
that figure in building their synagogues. It has, however, been generally 
supposed, that tlie round church at Cambridge, that at NorthAmptou, and 
some others, were built for synagogues by the Jews, while they were per- 
mitted to dwell in those places ; but, as no probable reason can be assigned 
for this supposition, and I thiuk it is very certain that the Jews, wlu) were 
settled in Cambridge, had their synagogue, and probably dwelled together, 
in a part of the town now called the Jewry, so we may reasonably conclude^ 
the round churches we find in other parts of this kingdom were not built by 




Time «f Erection. Noticed ia the BeautitiJ 
St. John's Chester .^..P. 220—221, witha ptinf. 


ChurchofSt.German's, ) fp ,-* »mn. -^u 

formerly the cathedral ^ ^^' 374-3/9, with » 

«f Cornwall S I P""^' 


Wimborne minster | { ^'pf/^^ - ^24. ^^ith a 

Sherborne church P. 503—506. 


the Jews for synagogues, whatever the places maj be called in which they 

It is uniformly admitted by the above, and other intelligent writers, that 
the church of the Holy Sepulchre, at Jerusalem, was the archetype of these 
circular churches in England. Sums edifices of this description [us, particu- 
larly, the Temple church, at London] ^tere undoubtedly erected by the 
Knights Templars, " who were origiuaily instituted, and stationed, at the 
church of the Holy Sepulchre," being charged with the protection of Chris- 
tian pilgrims against the Saracens. Mr. Clarke, hi^vtever, thinks it jtossibU 
to shew that two, at least, and those the most early of the examples noticed 
above, " were not erected by the Templars, oi at all connected with that 
order of knighthood." 

^he buildings to which he refers, are the churches of St. Sepulchre, at 
Northampton and at Cambridge. These we find to be parochial, and vicar-i 
age^, and to be entered as such in Ecton's Thesaurus. " It would be diffi- 
cult," says Mr. Clarke, " to account for,the round churches above noticed, 
if ever they belonged to houses of Knights-Templars, becoming parochial 
and appropriated before the uissulution of that order, cou!>idering how seldom 
any of the monasteries have been reserved for that purpose ; or, if possessed 
of the right of patrunage, that a vicarage should be ordained in favour of an* 
other house." 

This writer, therefore, supposes that the churches in question were built 
by affluent crusaders, in imitation of that of the Holy Sepulchre, or Kesuc- 

rection ; 



Time tf Erection. Noticfi in the Beautiu. 
Bishop Wearmouth } (« ,,r 

church I •* X^- 135- 


WalthaoJ abbey church I 5 P- 437-442, with a 


Abbey church of a r 

Tewkesbury. This* \ 

interesting structures. The reign gf <P. 694 — 701, with a 

isascribed, by Bishop t Henry I J print. 

Littleton, to } ^ 

Elkstone church P, 671 — 672. 

Bishop's Cleve church P. 681—682. 

rection ; and he presents the following huitorical notices, in defence of such 
an opinion. — " Simon St, Lis is said to have re-edified the town of Northamp. 
ton, which was burnt by the Danes, and lay in ruins for some time after the 
Conquest. About the year 1084, he repaired the priory of St. Andrew, near 
his castle in that town, of which he was the Earl, and endowed, and reple- 
nished il with Cluiiiac monks. To this priory we find the church of St. Se- 
pulchre presented by Simon St. Liz, or Scinliz, second Earl of Northampton, 
upon his return from the crusade. He died in 1 141. The right of patronage, 
thus granted to the monks, could only have been possessed by this Simon, in 
consequence of himself, or one of his ancestors, having been the founder of' 
the church, as within a demesne of hi^ own. This is evident from the cus- 
toms of those times, when it was also common to present such right to the 
religious houses, for the sake of its being better exercised. And, from what 
we have seen of the ardour of the first crusaders, it is highly probable that 
be was himseU the builder of this edifice, in imitation of the church of the 
Resurrection. — A like train of circumstances attends the round church at 
Cambridge, a more ancient structure than that at Northampton." See many 
farther remarks on the character and history of ro-jnd churches, in Britton's 
Architectural Antiquities, Vol. I. A view of the interior of the Temple 
cfattrch, London, is presented in the " Beauties" for London and Middle- 





Time of Erection. Noticed in the Beautiei. 
Priory church at Christ-) Reign of William tp -ii 017 

church S Rufus...A.. "^ * 

Abbey church at Rom-"^ 

sey. Mr, Warlon 

mentions this build- 
ing, as "one of the r .u , . 

most complete mo- y'"J^\^^'^lJ^^j?. 223-226, with a 

numents he can re- ( ^-nt,,.., 1 print. 

collect," of the Nor- ' ^^"""^> 

man style. It was 

built bv Henry de ^ , 

Blois...'. J L 


Leominster church, " 
[such parts as escap- 1 
ed conflagration in 

,<P. 569- 



Conventual church of) f 

St. Milan's [many [- -J P. 67— 90, w 

parts] S t 

Church of Hemel - ? ,.$P. 131 132, 

Hemsted \ ( 

ofKensworth P. 149. 

ith a print. 


Hartford church P. 475-476. 

Church of Hemming- 1 5 p^ 478-479* 

ford Grey ( > 

^ of Warboys ..P- 502-503. 

of Offord d'Ar- > ^ p, 573. 



r T- • 1 v ■) Probably between C 
of Fnndsbury / ^^^^ ' j 125, \ P. 596. 

=«n J and 1137 I 

ofGillinghaui P. 681— 682. 



Time of Erection. Noticed in the Beauties. 

Church of Borden p. 692—693. 

~ of Davington P. 743—744. 

■ of Badlesmere P. 750 — 751, 

Chapel of Harbledown P. 752. 

Church of St. Nicholas .P. 952—953. 

of Margate P. 961— 963* 

of St. Peter's P. 967—968. 

■ of St, Lawrence P. 934. 

• of Minster [ap 

pertaining to an An- 
glo-Saxon founda- . /pnn nn 

tion, contains some r ^ r, 989— 990. 

curious remains of' 

the circular style] 

of St. Marga-) f 

ret's, or St. Marga-> ^ P. 1029. 

retatCliffe ) i 

■^«?!.!1!!!:.''.!:} {P- loeo-ioe,. 

of Barfreston * P. 1082—1083. 

of Patricks 

:} h 

bourne [resembling 

that of Barfreston, in ^ ^ P. 1097—1099. 

several architectural 

features] , 

of Hythe P. 1117—1119. 

Limne church P, 1 137 

Eynesford church P. 1343. 


Stow church Latter part of 1 1th century... P. 666—669. 

Clee church P. 691—692. 


• This church is included in my previous enumeration of ecclesiastical 
buildings attributed by some writers to the Anglo-Saxons ; but, in the Beau- 
ties for Kent, it is judiciously observed, that, " from the exuberance of its 
omanients, and the peculiarities attending them, together with the form of 
some of its arches, it may, with greater probability of truth, be classed 
among those of our Norman edifices which were built in the times immediately 
preceding the general adoption of the pointed style." Some very ingenious 
remarks on the architectural character of this celebrated church, are pre- 
sented in the fourth volume of Britten's Architectural Antiquities. 

"t" Many churches in this county, besides those noticed in the present page 
as curious examples, afford instances of the circular style of architecture. 




^ Time of Erectiou. Noticed in the Bemutia. 

Church of St. Nicholas,) (n ,* 

. Leicester ) I ^- ^*^- 

" of St. Mary, in ) Ci>^.„ ., 

the same town } { P- ^49, with a pnnt. 


Temole church Lon-V (Beauties for London^ 

SccircuTar^p^^^^^^^ ''S^....] Part IV.. p. 691-2, 

^ y t with a print. 

Church of St. Bartho- ) i,^., ^ _^ ,„ .,, 

Jomew the Great, in C Reign of Henrj- 1. \ ^'''VS^ i.'h'l'nHn/ 
West Sniithfield > ' > 439,443, with a print. 


Binham priory church.. } f'o""'^*'^ in the { p 3 15. 

^ ■' 5 reign of Henry I. ( 
Church at Castle Rising P. 303. 

Attlcburgh church \ j P- ^^^^-^^^' "''*' ^ 

Church of Gillinghain) in ^^ j on* vk 

St. Mary's, nearW i \ ^' ^9''^^^ 202, vrith a 

cles S I P""*- 

Wymondbain church P. 25». 

Church of St. Marea-^r 1 i ■ .u t 
rel's. at Lynn, for-f F^"^^'^^ "V„>he) . 

inerly appertaining ( jj'f "^ ^'"'^'" ) ^- ^^' "^'^^ ^ P""^" 
toa priory * Kutus ^ 


St. Peter's, Northamp- ) Reign of William f „ ,»,, ,<,- 
ton J the Conqueror.. { ^- '^^-^SS. 

St. Sepulchre's church,) ,,,n.^iiart 5p lo* 190 
Nortliampton J.-lHOto n80....JP. 128-129. 


The following are described iu the Beauties for Lincolnshire and are referred 
founder the article "Churches," in the index: — long Sutton; CromU ; 
Wuihingborough ; Fiskerton ; ami St. Peter, at Gowt. 

* Exumples of ecclesiastical buildings in the circular style, are very nu- 
merous in this county. " Of tliirty*five churches [four of them in ruinsJ (u 
the rural deanery of Fiiichani alone, fifteen contain indisputable remains of 
Saxon, or Norman architecture." The above Ust comprises such only at arf 
described in the Beauties for Norfolk. 

f This county pruducet many specimens of tbcjcircular style in parochiat 




Time of Erection. Noticed in the Beauties. 

St. Aiulrew's church,) Vp 57—58. 

Newcastle j ( 

r-k u f ti u » Reiensof Henry I. CP. 161 — 164, with a. 

Church of Hexham.... j ^fd Henry II... { print. 

Southwell Minster P; 257-262. 


Church of Empingham P. 95, with a print. 

of Tickencote, ) 5 P 07 o« 

(parts of chancel).... 5 •••• |r.y7-y». 

• of Little Caster- ) Probably the reign i p 1 1 1 

ton, (north aisle) 5 of Henry II. ( ' 


Remains of the Abbey 1 f 

church of Shrews- V ■< P. 90— 92, with a print. 

bury S » 

Church of St. Mary,) i P. 100-105, with a 

Shrewsbury ) ( print. 

Parish church of Wen- ) 5 p 20* 

lock 5 i 

Church ofShiffnal P. 304. 


Church of Slokecourcy P. 585— 586. 


Church of Church- > 5 p g^^^ 

Eaton 5 ^ 

of Tamworth P. 824-825. 


churches, besides those noticed as conspicuous instances. Among such niiist 
be mentioned the churches of Castor ; Barnack; Earls'Barton ; BarnwtU; 
Twywellf and SprittoH. 



Church of All Saints, 
Dunwich. This curi- 
ous specimen of the 
circular style is term- 
ed Saxon by Mr. • 
"Wilkins, Archaeol. ^ 
Vol. XII. Its pre- 
sent ruinous state is 
noticed in the Beau- 

Time of Erecliim. Noticed in the BeaxUies. 

P, 338—339, with 


Steyning churchf... ^ P. 101 

Kew Shoreham church. > 

CP. 99 — 100, with a 



Church of Beaudescrt P. 273. 


• This county affords several specimens of Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical 
architecture. The following churches are noticed by Mr. Wilkins, in th« 
twelfth volume of Arcliaeologia: Westall; Cookicy; Walpole ; Mettinghanii 
Herring fleet i and Cisleham, In the same volume are engraved detailed 
specimens ef various parts of those structures ; ^geometrical plans, and sectional 
forms of the mouldings, &c. 

+ Mr. Warton (Hist, of Kiddington, edit. 2nd p. 4. and note) presents 
some observations respecting this church which it may be desirable to tran- 
scribe j — "The old Norman built parochial churches seldom consisted of 
more than one aisle, or pace. The most curious one with aisles that I recol- 
lect, 1 mean as complete in its first plan, although small, is the church of 
Steyning, Sussex. The middle aisle has on each side four Norman round 
arches, zig-zagged, surmounted with as many round headed small windows 
The two side aisles are much, and disproportionately, lower, as was the cus- 
tom. The roof is of rafter." In the Beauties for Sussex, the chnrch of Steyn- 
ing is said to be in the Saion style. This is one of the numerous misrepre- 
sentations arising from the want of a clear and established Nomenclature of 
OUT ancient architecture. 



Time of Erectim. Noticed in the Beoutiet. 

P. 425 - 428, with a 

St. John's church, De. -J probably in the 5 

aSrale"t) "^"'r^'S" **^ ^^"'^ ^'1 
St. Mary's church, De-) Probablysoon after V p 428—429 
vizes, ^chancel) 5 the Conquest. ( 

"^st^MilS'::?!".! } ■ {f- "«-"^- 

Malmsbury Abbey 

church, ( already 

noticed as an instance , 

of the declining Nor- }■ 12th century -( "P. 608—615. 

man, in which the 

circular and pointed 

modes are blended). 
Church of Little Bed- > Cp ^^j,, 

Avebury church P. 714—715, 

Calne church P. 537—538. 

,1 f. 



Church of Eastham P. 283. 

of Stockton P. 285. 

Remains of Anglo-N or- "\ r 

man architecture are i 

evident in several pa- ; j p io7-109. 

rochial cliurches m j J 

the city of Worces- [ j j^>9^l 

Church of Holt.!!....... P. 196. 

r AT 1 > ( p. 304 — 309, with « 
°f Malvern J J p^i,,^^ 


PartsofRipon Minster P. 685— 689. 

of Halifax (some) Probably in the (p jj^g_,j^Q 

parts) 5 reign of Henry I. (. ' 

2 D 4 Trinity 


• This large and fine county contains numerous specimens of Anglo-Nor» 
man architecture ; but the difficulty of compreising various particulars of in- 
formation into the comparatively small compass necessarily prescribed by 
the design of the " Beauties of England," has prevented the autlior from en- 
tering into minute architectural disquisitions. 



Time of Erection. Noticed in the Beauties. 

fidJ..?!!"'".'^'..!!!'.!f;| ^^'g" °f Henry I. { P. 


Church of St George, ) Supposed of the <?. 849 — 850, with a 
Doncastcr(eastend). 5 age of William I. \ print. 


Llanercost Priory, > C P. 124— 126, with a 

Cumberland ........ 5 ( print. 

St. Botolph's Priory,) iio3_iii6 |^- 315^ 317, with a 

Colchester, Essex... 5 * ( print. 

St. Augustine's Abbey, > (P. 882 - 889, with a 

Canterbury, Kent..) \ print. 

Horton Priory, Kent ...P. 1131-. 

Croyland Abbey, Lin- > Probaby 5 P 7A'; 74o 

COLNSHIRE,(partof).5 1113-1160. |f. 74D-74y. 
Priory of St. Leonard's, 1 C 

near Stamford, Lin- > < P. 797. 

colnshire ) ( 

Llanthony Abbey, > 12th centurv ?P- 80— 85, with twoen- 

MoNMOUTHSHiRE.. 5 \ gpavings. 

Castle Acre Priory, ) Part 1085 i P. 300 — 301, with a 

Norfolk \ 1148. * ( print. 

Walsingham Priory, ) j^g^ ( P, 312 — 314, with a 

Norfolk (part) > ( print. 

Binham Priory, Nor-) Probably in the i^ '..r -.l 

folk \ reign of Henry L JP-^IS, with a print. 

Lindisfarnemonastery,') Cp , 

Northumberland. ) ( ^- ^^s-^-*"- 

Brinkburn Priory, Nor > Jp lOrt 

thumberland $ { ^' '^"• 

Priory of Tynemouth, \ Greater part in the (P. 80 — 87, with a 

Northumberland ) 12th century. ( print. 

Chapter house of Wen- "i C 

lock Priory, Shrop- [• 1080. ^ P. 200. 

SHIRK ) ( 

BuiIdwasAbbey,Slirop- > 1135 probably (P. 193 — 195, with a 
shire ) to 1160. ( print. 

Ilaiighmond Abbey, > ' (P. 1 79 - 1 82, with a 

Shropshire j ' " ( print. 


* According to a correction appended to the foDrth volume of Britton's 
Arcbiiectural Antiquities, Liudisfsme should be described as situated in the 
wuniy of Durfaam. 



Time of Erection. Noticed in the Beauties. 

Gl^tonbury Abbey. | p^^j^^j,,^ .^^ ^p .no -.k • » 
Somersetshire (St. > ..Aq -v r. 502, with a pnnt. 

Josepli's chapel) 3 * v. 

Kirkslall Abbey, > 1153, probably to | P. 798 -801, with a 
Yorkshire y 1190 ( print. 

The ecclesiastical architecture of WALES so closely assimi- 
lates, in progressive chai'acter and improvement, with that of 
England, that it scarcely requires separate notice in an endea- 
Tour to investigate the rise and history of the different styles of 
building observable in this island. On the subject of such an 
approximation. Sir Richard C. Hoare (our most judicious writer 
on the antiquities of this truly interesting principality) affords the 
subjoined comprehensive remarks : — "From the affinity of Eng- 
land to Wales, architecture seems to have been nearly upon a 
level in each kingdom; for as a particular species of this art rose 
up with us in England, imitations were very soon introduced 
into the neighbouring principality. This circumstance need not 
create much surprise, when we consider the near connexion that 
took place between the two countries, when eur ancestors sojourned 
-with the Welsh, we will not say, as absolute conquerors, but as 
authoritative visitors. Hence it becomes evident, how so great 
X similarity in architecture should prevail in both regions, though 
ever divided in private sentiments, if not in public professions; 
for in Cambria we find the same mode of design, the same de- 
grees of fine workmanship, the same decorative display, and the 
same good taste. Indeed, did we not know bow the hearts of 
each peopled land were estranged by an original and deep-rooted 
hatred, we might, in considering the near-joined principle of art 
in each country, conclude, that in the pursuit of documents to 
illustrate this our architectural system, we traversed one and the 

same land."* 


$ Heart's Giraldus, V*l. II. p. 411. , 


Although the above observations embrace the whole procedure 
of sacred architecture in ages subsequent to the Norman Con> 
quest, and are chiefly directed to the buildings of South Wales, 
they may be applied particularly to the style denominated Anglo- 
Norman, and are equally correct in regard to both divisions of 
the principality. 

To the reasons assigned by Sir R. Hoare for that accordance 
of architectural features, which is to be observed between the 
ecclesiastical structures of England and Wales, it may be added, 
that such buildings in both countries were probably erected by 
the same workmen. When we consider the state of society, and 
of the arts, in the ages under examination, we are warranted in 
presuming that fraternities of masons (or of architects, as the as- 
sociated builders of a period not very distant are termed by Sir 
Christopher Wren*) travelled for employment through contiguous 
countries; and either executed the designs of ingenious clergy- 
men and monks, or presented patterns of previous works for 
their selection and adoption. The universal deference to the 
pontiff of Rome, led to a unity of interests and fashions between 
many nations, which were unhappily at variance in political 

Remains of that style of architecture which was practised by 
the Anglo-Normans are to be seen in three of the Cathedral 
ehurches of Wales : — Bangor, St. David's, and Landaff. In all 
these instances they are intermixed with the architecture of vari- 
ous succeeding dates : and the ancient parts of the two latter 
cathedrals are in a lamentable state of decay, or dilapidation. 

Few parochial churches in the principality exhibit traces of 
the circular style. These of Ewenny,\ and Margan,\ are, 


* Parentalia, p. 50fi. The remarks of Sir Christopher Wren, on this 
topicj are noticfd more largely in that part of the present work which treats 
»n the pointed, or English, style of architecture. 

t Beauties for South Wales, p. 684—5. 
X Ibid, p. 104—5. 


however, very conspicuous and iuteresting examples of this 

The monastic architecture of each division of tiie principality, 
is now chiefly reduced to lingering masses of ruin, too far de- 
faced to allow of any minute discrimination respecting former ar- 
chitectural character. The round arch prevails among the few 
ruinous fragments of the once-splendid abbey of Strata Florida, 
and is, perhaps, more conspicuous in these decaying relics, than 
in the remains of any other monastic edifice throughout the whole 
of Wales.* 


In the preceding sections I have submitted some materials, 
and opinions, towards information concerning those great eras in 
the history of Britain, which are of peculiar importance with the 
Topographer, as they involve political divisions of the country, 
and produce separate classes of very interesting antiquities. The 
changes in the aspect of our island, and the revolutions in art, 
science, and manners, effected by the successive invasions of the 
Romans, Saxons, and Normans, were indeed striking and me- 

How abrupt the transition from the Briton's chearless hut, il- 
lumined by no ray of refinement, to the villa of the polished, 
luxurious, Roman, decorated with sculpture, and provided with 
porticos and baths ! How great the change in the military cha- 

• The abbey of Strata Florida (Y$trad Fflur) is noticed in the Beauties for 
South Wales, p. 472 — 477. A beautiful arched gatevraj, still remaining 
among these ruins, forms the vignette t« tbat volame of the Beaatin* 


racter of the country, when we compare the Briton's rude^ eas- 
trametation with the scientific, well-arranged, camp of his con- ' 
querors ! 

But nearly every work of art fell beneath the rapacious en- 
croachments of the Saxons. The temples of Britain, and her 
novel pride of domestic architecture, were aliice swept away by 
barbarians intent only on aggrandizement for the gratification of 
a sordid sensuality. 

Recovering, by slow degrees, from the coarse, ruinous, com- 
plexion inflicted by the Pagan-Saxons, we find the island re- 
gaining a comparative resemblance of wealth and architectural 
adornment, under their Christian descendants. Her fields are 
tilled by settled husbandmen; cities arise, organised with politi- 
cal wisdom, and governed by salutary laws ; castles of stone, al- 
though few in number, crown some hills, or protect interspersed 
regions of cultivated low-land; churches, at once durable and 
ornamental, proclaim, in every principal town, the advancement 
of religious feeling, with contented social order for its attendant; 
and decorate even the intervals of far-spread woodland with their 
massive but humble walls. 

The efforts of population were still weak, and the spots en- 
riched by art were few, and dispersed over a wide and chill ex< 
pause of forest and morass ; like casual rays of sunshine in a 
vast profound of gloomy sky. 

The scene was greatly enlivened, if not much ameliorated, by 
the enterprising spirit of the Normans. Many deep, thick, 
woods (the dank harbours of beasts of prey) fell beneath those 
habits of industry which they stimulated equally by precept and 
example. Under the Norman away, baronial castles, with all 
the pompous glitter of chivalric parade, gave animation to re- 
cesses buried, until that time, in profound quiet,— sublime in the 
wildness of nature rather than attractive in her simplicity. 
Churches, the fair works of piety, raised their stately fronts in 
districts then first deemed worthy of architectural ornament ; and 



monastic piles spread the influence of splendid superstition, over 
vales the most rural and sequestered. 

In descending from this date, we happily quit the last era in 
which a great and marked alteration has been effected ia the as- 
pect of the island, as relates to the fashion of architecture, in 
consequence of the introduction of a foreign dynasty. The revo- 
lutions in art to be noticed in our future pages, are produced by 
the inhabitants of Britain, coalesced as one great nation from the 
various stocks of invading powers, amalgamated with parts of the 
original population, and now first taking pride in tlie name of 
Englishmsn^ and becoming famous as such in the annals of war 
and science. 

It would be gratifying to enter into an examination of various 
effects, produced through the whole range of the useful and orna- 
mental aits, by this union of population, in the course of the cen- 
turies now to be noticed. But the scheme of the present work, 
and its limits, equally confine the writer to such circumstances as 
are of most obvious importance in Topographical Researches. 
Architecture, — Castellated, Domestic, and Ecclesiastical — is, 
therefore, constituted our leading article in the section which is 
to ensue ; and an investigation of the procedure of this one noble 
art, will implicate remarks on several other topics, connected 
with an historical review of the national taste and manners in 
those successive ages. 

On the subject of Castellated Strbctures, from the 


to the time at which fortified buildings ceased 
to be constructed as dwellings, in england and 
Wales; including some remarks on the character 
OP succeeding mansions, to the end of the reign 
OF James the First. 

It is much to be regretted that the subject of castellated ar- 


cliitecture, assuredly one of the most curious topics of anti- 
quarian enquiry, since it is so intimately blended with a history 
of the customs and manners of many ages which are left in great 
obscurity by the scanty and ill-directed labours of contemporary 
historical writers, should have met with serious attention at a 
period too late for investigations completely satisfactory. The 
propriety of this remark will be admitted, when it is observed 
that there is great difficulty in finding a decisive specimen of the 
castellated style which prevailed between the reign of Stephen 
and that of Edward the First. 

If we adopt the conclusions of Mr. King,* we may, however, 
consider the keep of Knareshorough Castle to present an ex- 
ample of the mode which obtained in the time of Henry the 
Third. The castle of Knareshorough is described in the " Beau'< 
ties" for Yorkshire,f where we are told that its site comprised 
" near two acres and a half within the walls, and that the walls 
were flanked with eleven towers; which, with several other build- 
ings in the different wards, afforded convenience and accommoda- 
tion for a numerous garrison.** 

The respectable author of that portion of the Beauties of Eng- 
land, cites, as an authority, a modern historian of Knareshorough, 
according to whom, " a part of the principal tower still remain- 
ing, appears to have been built about the time of Edward the 
Third;" but I confess that 1 deem the opinion df Mr. King to be 
the more acceptable, and would rather, with that writer, suppose 
the keep to have been erecled about the time qf the third Henry. 
I shall speedily shew that the style which prevailed iu the reign 
of Edward the Third, according to all known examples, was of a 
character far more capacious and magnificent; while it is etjually 
unlikely, from many architectural particulars, :J: that the tower 
was of a date earlier than the reign of Henry the Third, as is 


• Arcliaeol. Vol. VI. 

4, Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 636, et seq. 

t Sec ArcliiBol. Vol. VI. p. 32?. 


stated by Camden, who ascribes it, *' on report/' to the time of 
William the Conciueror. 

Kiiaresborough castle was placed on a natural elevation, pre- 
cipitous in one part, and affording great facilities of security iu 
others. The shape of the keep was an oblong square, having, 
at one angle, a tower, which exhibits outwardly a circular form; 
and, at another, a tower, of 6at and square proportions. The 
wall, even in the weakest part, is about ten feet thick ; and the 
angular towers are evidently intended for deceptions, and are en- 
tirely solid. On one front is a lofty pointed aperture, which was 
much enriched, and is, by some examiners, supposed to have 
been a window, but which Mr. King believes to have formed the 
grand way of entrance.* In the disposal of the priucipal roomK 
of the keep there are not any peculiarities, except such as arise 
from local circumstances. But it may be observed that they were 
of limited proportions,! and few in number, although there is rea- 
son to believe that they were richly ornamented, from " the re- 
mains of an exceeding fine arched roof of stone-work." 

Beeston Castle, noticed in the Beauties for Cheshire,^ is sup- 
posed to present a further example of castellated buildings con- 
structed in the reign of Henry the Third; but is now in a ruinous 
condition. This was a massy and extensive pile, erected, as is 
believed, about the year 1220, by Randle Blundeville, Earl of 
Chester. The fortress was placed on the crest of a lofty insu- 
lated rock, and the mural lines enclosed an outer aud an inner 
area, to the extent of " four or five acres." The outer wall was 
fortified by many round towers ; and the entrance was guarded, 
on each side, by a tower, also of a circular form. Stroug and 
judicious precautions of defence are evident in every division of 


• ArchKol. Vol. VI, p. 3f3, et seq. 
t " The second story was entirely taken up by the ante •chamber and state- 
Tooni, commonly called the king's chamber ; each room appearing to bar* 
been about mteen feet square." Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 639. 
t Beauties for Cheshire, p. 843. 


the ponderous ruins ; for the efforts of the architect appear to bave 
been chiefly directed to military arrangement. 

King Edward the First, undoubtedly one of the greatesi mo> 
narchs that have filled the English throne, introduced to this 
country a new mode of castellated architecture, splendid and vast 
-as his own comprehensive mind, and suited to that amelioration 
of manners which he appears to have cultivated with memorable 
success and lasting influence. This grand style of military ar- 
chitecture involves, in the original design of the fortification, 
tiiose numerous apartments which in earlier periods were inde* 
pendent of the embattled works, and were raised, like tents or 
huts within lines of Roman castrametation, — not defensible in 
themselves, and probably intended to be demolished by the gar- 
rison, on the occurrence of a close siege. 

Instances of this more refined and superior mode of building, 
in which the fortress and the palace are united in one systematic 
and extensive erection, are conspicuous in the castles of Caer^ 
narvon and Conicay, — those formidable, yet splendid, structures^ 
which were once the terror of the Welsh, and now afford then 
cause of admiration. Once the badges of subjugation, they now 
stand the venerable monuments of a union of interests, conducive 
to the happiness of both countries. The general character of 
these august fabrics is too well known to render a description of 
their yutlines, or their peculiarities of internal disposition, neces- 
sary in the present place.* It is more desirable to trace the 
effect of such royal examples on the taste of the nation at large, 
as evinced in the construction of private baronial dwellings. 

Edward the First granted to many of kis subjects a licence to 
embattle their seats of residence; and the increasing security, 
•ociability, and polish of the times, caused his mode of architec- 

• A description of Conway castle is presented in Vol. XVII. of the Beau< 
ties of England and Wales, p. 466; and of Caeruarron castle. Vol. XVII. 
p. 3M. 


ture to be nationally adopted. After the date of this reign w« 
do not find the Norman methods of castellation in use, or even 
that mixed and irregular style which succeeded to the manner in- 
troduced in the ages of William the First, and his regal succes- 
sor. A gloomy and massive keep, whether insulated near the 
centre of multiplied mural lines, or placed boldly in the range of 
the works which protected the base-court, no longer constitutes 
the principal feature of a castle. In imitation of the great Welsh 
castles of Edward the First, the English baron now endeavoured 
to unite comparative grandeur and convenience of eiomestic ar- 
rangement, with fortified security. His efforts were at first 
rude ; but they slowly moved forwards in improvement through 
the two next reigns ; in the latter of which this combination of 
martial outline and interior splendour was carried to a magnifi- 
cent height, and to the utmost point of perfection which it ever 
attained in this country. 

It lias been already sufficiently shewn, that, in the present 
dilapidated state of castellated buildings, it is very difficult te 
select a satisfactory example of the style of any determinate era, 
Wiien such structures were forsaken as habitations, all records 
concerning their original were usually disregarded by their res- 
pective proprietors ; and, where the history of a building has 
been partially preserved, we often find such massy piles, when 
not raised for the purpose of immediate defence, to have been the 
work of different generations, and to display in their several parts 
a consequent mixture of fashions. But the castle of Harewood, 
in Yorkshire, will probably be received as a fair specimen of 
the general character of English castles erected in the time of 
Edward the First. 

On the site of the present ruined structure there stood, un- 
questionably, a castle in more ancient times; and some part of 
the walls of such a former building may be still remaining; but 
we have good reasons for believing tliat, with such exceptions, 
the whole of the edifice, in its present form, was built about the 

2 E time 


time of Edward the First, although not iiiterualiy completed till 
the reign of Edward the Third.* 

The ruins of Harewood castle are situated on a lofty natural 
hill ; and it does not appear that there were any lines of fortifica- 
tion beyond the buildings intended for residence. This structure 
"was quite irregular in shape, and occupied a large plot of ground. 
The grand enlrauce was through two portals, sufficiently lofty to 
admit a man on horseback, and guarded by vast portcullises. 
There was not any area, or court, within the structure, the whole 
of the ground -plan being occupied by apartments, the principal 
of which were of spacious proportions. At two of the angles were 
oblong towers, each having four apartments, one above another, 
provided with a fire-place and a window. Within the substance 
ot one part uf the castle-walls are seen galleries, like those of 
Bi>liop Gundulph's towers; and in another part occur wells or 
cavities, supposed to have been designed for the conveyance of 
military engines and stores to the upper division of the works. 
But, whiKst noticing these latter particulars, it must Hot be for- 
gotten that some parts of the walls were probably constructed at 
a period much earlier than the reign of Edv^ard the First, al- 
though it is believed that a new form, and that which is still de- 
noted by ruinous outlines, was then bestowed on the build- 

This mode of castellation, which emanated from the ruling 
genius on the throne, was happily suited to the wishes of ages 
immediately succeedint;;. The progress of refinement in domestic 
manners, so often impeded in the earlier stages of history by a 
vant of security against foreign assault, and by the constitutional 
weakness of the governing powrr, was henceforwards slow but 
certain; and met with no interruption, except such as was pro- 
duced by civil contests, which were, in the greater part, not 


" See Archacol. Vol. VI. p. 359. — The cnstlc of Ilarewood is briefly 
no' iced in the Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 718 — 720. 

f A second specimen of the st^le introduced by Edward tlie First, iimea* 
tjoned in th* Beauties for Lineoinshire, p. 731. 


agitated on a public principle, bat were rather struggles arising: 
from private interests and prejudices. 

Numerous buildings were altered during the reigns of Edward 
the First, and his successor, in attention to the noble fashion in- 
troduced by tlie former king. Many such instances may occur to 
the examiner ; and the confusion of modes, arising from the exist- 
ence, in the same structure, of the Norman keep, and those con- 
venient towers and inner halls, which were lirst blended with a 
fortification in the time of this great sovereign, will cause some 
perplexity, unless it be remembered that such alterations are 
known to have been frequent, and probably were much more 
usual than has been authenticated. 

In the reign of Edward the Third, the castellated edifices of 
this country made a still nearer approach to the character of the 
modern palace and mansion. The chivalric exercises of the lists 
were now followed by the courtly dance and domestic pageant. 
The buildings intended for the residence of the king and his 
nobles, were, accordingly, rendered suitable to such habits. 
The apartments used for stately retirement and pompous recrea- 
tion were increased and enlarged, while the fortified parts would 
sometimes appear to be designed for defence against a sudden as- 
sault, rather than a regular siege.* 

2 E 2 Windsor 

* The improvements which gradually took place in the interior of cas- 
tles, are briefly noticed by several modern writers, drawing their intel- 
ligence from ancient auihorities. Mr. Dallaway (Observations oti English 
Aichiteceure, p. l'>0 — 101.) observes that "during the middle centuries 
after the Conquest, when tiie plans of mere defence were rendered subser* 
vient to those of comtortable habitation within the walls of a castle, a certain 
degree of splendour in the ntternal decoratitin and furnitare soon followed. 

" The wall!) of the btate chambers were covered with wainscot, painted io 
fresco upon ihe painiels, or hung with arras or tapestry. In the numerous 
castellated palaces of our early sovereigns, were apartments so oman.ented, 
as is clearly showa ia ancient evidences. At Warwick was a memorable suit 




Windsor Castle, erected by Edward the Third, as his faTourite 
place of residence, is an obvious instance of the grand ideas 
formed by himself and his architect, respecting the appropriate 
dwelling ofa king of England in the 14th century. This building 
is now so entirely altered, by the additions made in various ages 
(frequently incongruous, though magnificent) that it is almost 
impracticable to form a correct idea of its aspect, when inhabited 
by the warlike and chivalrous refounder of the structure. 

It must be well known to the reader of the Beauties of Eng- 
land, that Windsor castle was rebuilt on the site of a fortress 
raised by William the Conqueror. In examining such parts of 
the edifice as are of the date of King Edward the Third, it is 
necessary to hold this circumstance in remembrance; for we here 


of arns, apon which were repretented (h^ achietemcDts of the raUrous Earl 
of Wanrick, Sir Guy, whose legend was familiar to our old poets. Nor did 
the hall» remain without their share of oriianieiit. Armorial t>earings iu 
stained glass were not unfrequeut, at least in the great bay-window ; and, 
at tiie solemn feasts, moveable tapestry was placed behind tiie high table 

" Sc&lptDre, however rode, was admitted at an earlier period, either ocer 
th«J roacliicolalion of the gates, in the grotesque 6gure« used as water-spoof j, 
in escocheons, or effigies of some heroic individual. Over llie grand entrance 
into Caertiarvon castle, is the statue of Edward the First, standing in the act 
of drawing his sword, and an attitude of defiance. Carvings, introduced as 
architectural embellishments, were, in many instances, finished with no lest 
perl'ectiun than in church buildings." 

Much information concerning the paintings which enriched the walls of 
royal and noble castellated structures, in ib« Middle ages, is contained in 
Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, and in Walton's History of Poetry, Vol. II. 
— From the " Dream" of Chaucer it would appear that such circumstances ttf 
enibellishiiient were not coafined to the castles of the sovereign and nobii^ity, 
^^. but were adopted, also, in the chambers of dwellings belonging to privat* 

gentlemen. The poet, when roused from his dream, foanU all ihe gajf 
iu.a|,ery of faucy vanished, and saw nothing, 

" Save OH the wals old portrtitare 
Of horsemen, haukis, and houndis. 
And hull dere all fall of woundi*.*' 


'tnd a round tower, or keep, \rhich, nnqaestionabW, was not a 
form of building in inoch use at that time. This circular tower 
(formerly termed the round fable, as we are informed by Stow) 
appears to have been rebuilt in tiie original Norman form by king 
Edward, before he obtained the professional interference of the 
ingenious Wykeham ; and was, perhaps, re erected in that dis- 
carded shape, through a Tenemtion for the ancient castle iu which 
the king was bora. ' "•' - ■ '• '-^ 'i* »v>ii illpub 

Although the general disposition of the works is rendered oi>- 
•cure by uumerons alterations, there are sufficient traces of the 
outline remaining, to convince the examiner that, in this regal 
ediHce, were combined the apartments and offices of an extensive 
palace, with the harsh exterior of a strong embattled fortress. 

The number of castles built in periods snbseqnent to the cow* 
siencemcnt of the 14th century were few, compared with those 
erected in earlier ages, when the feudal lords possessed greater 
strength, from the relative weakness of the crown. The instances 
of castellated architectnre, illustrative of the mode prevailing in 
this century, are, therefore, chiefly lo be derived from alterations 
effected in more ancient structures; and, in such improvements, 
the magnificence of the third Edward's era is, indeed, reflected 
in lineaments more durable and emphatic than " records on brass," 
since they form some of the most impressive ancient ornaments of 
this countrj, so fertile iu subjects gratifying to those who have 
a tasle for enquiring into the manners of ages long since past, and 
best recollected through the inediiioi of such tangible and unequi- 
vocal monuments. 

The finest instance of a strncture altered according to the man- 
ner thus greatly improved in the reign of Edward the Third, is to 
be found in Alnwick castle, the splendid and principal seat of 
Jiis Grace the Duke of Norlhuuiberlaud ; which, with the excep- 
tion of tiic regal castellated palace of Windsor, is, assuredly, tlie 
most raagnificeat castle in Grtat Britain thai is inhabited at the 
present day. 

This august pile is believed to comprise some parts ofa for« 
2 E 3 tress 


tress erected in an Anglo-Saxon age, but, was chiefly rebuilt in 
the 14lh century. The barony of Alnwick was purchased by 
Henry, Lord Percy, in the year 1309; and by that nobleman, 
and his immediate successors, a structure was progressively 
raised, which was suited to the fashion of the times, and to the 
splendour in which they lived. 

Alnwick castle is seated on a fine elevation, which rises gra- 
dually from the south side of the river AIne. The keep, or cita- 
del, is of vast magnitude, and attains much of the picturesque of 
architecture from " fair semi-circular towers," which protect apd 
adorn it on every side. 

The castle-area is divided into three courts, entered through 
gateways formed in lofty towers, embattled, and defended with 
portcullises. Attached to the portal that constitutes the entrance 
of the inner ward, and appears to be of Anglo-Saxon architec- 
ture, are two octangular towers, charged with a series of escut- 
> cIieoDS*, which supplies the place of an inscription, and proves 
that these additional buildings were erected about the year 

The interior, even as it stood before recent splendid alterations, 
was evidently adapted to the exercise of a princely hospitality ; 
and evinced, in its arrangement, a slow but determinate increase 
in polish of manners and social confidence.* 


* Many particulars relating to the state of this noble castle in the 16th 
century, are publikhed in '-' A description of Alnwick Castle, taken from 
an antient survey of divers of the possessions of the Right Honourable 
the Earl of Nurthuraberiand, made about the year 1567, by George 
Clarkeson, surveyor of all his lordship's lands, and other the said earl's 
officers." This curious ducumsnt (which is preserved amongst the evidences 
of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland) is printed, by permission, in 
Grose's Antiquities of England and Wales, Vol. III. and in Hutchinson's 
View of Northumberland, &c. Vol. II. The whole is highly worthy of pern- 
sal, by those who are desirous of acquiring an intimate knowledge of the 
archit«claral arrangements of the 14lh century. 


Coramaadiug precautions of outward defence were, however 
deemed necessary to the grandeur, as well as to the security, o 
the editice. The whole of the casllc-area is encompassed by 
walls, which are flanked with sixteen lofty towers and turret. 
But ornament is interspersed, even amongst features of military- 
harshness. Distributed along tlie battlements, are seen nunier 
ous sculptured figures, which are chiefly those of warriors in atti 
todes of defence. 

Although Alnwick castle was re-edified by the first Duke and 
Duchess of Nortiiumberland, and is now arranged in a st) le of 
internal magtiificeuce. suited to the dignified uses of the illustri- 
ous family in modern times, the whole pile, in its general exte< 
rior character and disposal, presents a fine memorial of the mode 
of castellated architecture prevailing during the ages in which a 
great extent of buildings, and numerous apartments designed for 
stately pleasure, were blended with strong outlines of martial 
defence. The hand of restoration was here guided by an admira- 
ble correctness of taste, and veneration of antiquity. 

Amongst other castles, altered in attention to the Improved 
ideas of domestic accommodation and internal splendour, which 
prevailed in the time of the Edwards, may be noticed those of 
Warwick,* Berkeley, \ and Keniltcortk.\ It will, however, be 
observed that many additions, of a still later date, have been made 
to each of those structures. The latter is now in a state of for- 
saken ruin, but still presents many »trongly-marked indications 
of the style of the 14th century, which will he found at one* 
useful and gratifying to the arehitectural antiquary. 

Some buildings, of less magnitude than those noticed above, 
may be desirably adduced as examples of the st)le prevailing at 
the same era ; since they are free from the intermixture of pre- 

2 E 4 Tious 

• Beauties for Warwickshire, p. 210. 

+ — — Gloucestershire, p 723. 

I Warwickshire, p. 34—43. 



vious modes, and exhibit more closely tlie character of baronial 
dwellings of a customary size.* 

Spoford Castle, in Yorkshire, a mansion deserted many 
ages back, and now in ruins, is confidently believed to have been 
erected about the reign of Edward the Third.f 

This structure is of an oblong form, having at one angle a small 
tower of the same shape, beneath which was a cell, or dungeon, 
probably designed for the reception of prisoners. Tbe principal 
entrance was near this angular tower, and was narrow and small, 
bat placed on the level of the ground. The lower rooms were 
lighted only by loop-holes, with the exception of one large win- 
dow, which, however, was a sufficient point of weakness to ren- 
der nugatory all attempts at permanent defence. 

In the present dilapidated slate of this abandoned structure, it 
is difficult to ascertain the order of the different apartments. 


• The following remarks, on the subject of baronial castles of the Middl* 
ages, are presented b^ Mr. Dallaway in his Observations on English Archi- 
tecture. — " In tlie reign of Edward the Third, some attempts were made to 
render castles habitable, and even magnificent. Many of his barons, wh» 
had acquired wealth by the ransom of prisoners taken in the fields of Poitiers 
and Cressy, were proud to apply it to the decoration and enlargement of 
their castles ; and the splendid example the king had sliowu at Windsor, ex- 
cited in them a rivalry of imitation. 

" The era of this improvement extended itself from tliis reign to the close 
of the contention between the houses of York and Lancaster. Within this 
period we may date the erection, or renovation, of the grandest castellated 
structures of which this kingdom could once boast; and whose venerable 
ruins are the most characteristick features of the English landscape. About 
this time, turrets, and hanging galleries, over the salient angles aud tbe 
gateways, very various in their design, were added to the ruder architecture 
of innpregnable strength, and (particularly in the Welsh counties) conical 
buttresses were applied to round towers, reaching to more than half their 
height, and spreading at the base like a modern bastion. By tiicie additions 
the ruins are rendered extremely picturesque." Dnilaway's Observations on 
English Architecture, p. 93 — 96. 

t Archxol. Vol. VI. p. 337. — This castle is iioticed tti the Beauties for 
Yorkshire, p. 633. 


Bat they appear to have been few ia number, whilst those of lead- 
ing consequence were of spacious dimensions. The great hall, 
situate<l directly above the principal divisions of the ground-floor, 
was not less than 75 feel in ien;,'tli, and 36 feet in breadth. This 
noble room, the seat of unlimited hospitality, is lighted by lofty, 
pointed windows, and is entered by two spacious doors, also of a 
pointed form. — $<> constructed, it is evident that it could not be 
intended fur serious and lasting defence. The whole building, 
indeed, displays the characteristics of a grand, but rude, man- 
sion, indeterminate in feature, and hesitating between hospitable 
confidence and armed precaution. 

Natcorth Castle, in Cumherland, which appears to have been 
built in the reigu of Edward the Third, by Ranulphus Dacre, 
** chiefly consists of two large square towers, united by other 
buildings, and enclosing a quadrangular court."* This struc- 
ture, as is observed by Mr. King,-}- " has still more of the auk- 
ward attempt of introducing convenience and magnificence, and 
still less of the cautious provisions for munition and defence," 
than other buildings ascribed to the same reign. The interior 
contains a vast number of apartments; some few of which are 
spacious, but ail gloomy and ill-contriyed. Although it is pro- 
bable that alterations luive been efiected in the disposal of many 
of tiiese rooms, the general character of the building is an inter- 
esting specimen of the architectural mode of the age in which 
it is believed to have been trecteJ. Situated on the borders, and 
consequently much exposed to danger, this edifice must be 
amongst the last in which precautions of sullen security were 
sacrificed to fashion and a growiug amenity of manners; yet, 
even here, we find the dismal and isolated keep abandoned, and 
ranges of apartments occupying the place of former embattled 
mural lines. I 


• Beauties foT Cnmberland, p. 120. + Archaeol. Vol. VI. 

% The iuterior of tiiis verv carioat building exhibits jaumeronit contrivances 



Hever Castle, in Kent, presents another instance of castellated 
buildings erected in the reign of Edward the Third ; and dis* 
plays, in its general character, a similar improvement iti social 
arrangement, blended with decided efforts at exterior defence. 
This structare is sorrounded by a moat, crossed by a drawbridge; 
and the " entrance gateway, which consists of a centre, flanked 
by round towers, is embattled and strongly machicolated, and is 
also defended by a portcullis/'* The inner buildings, Itowever, 
unlike those of early Anglo-Norman castles, or of the mixed 
style immediately succeeding, " form a quadrangle, enclosing a 

Mot any architectural deviations of importance can be ascer- 
tained in castles erected, or altered, in the succeeding reign 
(that of Richard the Second ;) which period presents the latest 
examples of buildings strictly entitled to such a denomination. 
A very few instances will, thertfore, be sufficient for tlie satis- 
fiaction of the enquirer. 

Bolton Castle, in Yorkshire, is said, by Leiand, to have been 
built by Richard, Lord Scrope, in the time of King Richard the 
Second. This was a stately pile, seated on an eminence. The 
whole building surrounded an open court, " and was disposed in 
the form of a parallelogram, with square towers at each extreme 
angle. A small tower robe near the centres •( the north and 
sonth ftides.^t There were three ways of entrance; and the 


of defence and retreat fmni the inenrcioni of " moM-troopers," or otli«r 
marauding foes. The whole internal arrsngcment, indeed, secros " chieflj 
calculated to keep an enemy out, or eiade his vigilance should he happen t* 
get in. Its hiding-holes are numeroos ; but it seems probable that manj 
of its close recesses are even now unknown." The vtaircases are winding 
dark, and narrow ; and long successions of doors, opening to the more re- 
tired apartments, are stronglj? plated wilii iron. 

• Beauties for Kent, p. 1315. 
t Arch Antiqs. Vol. IV. p. J 55. — According to Leiand, this castle was 
" a mak^'nge XVI 1 1 jtres; aad the chargjs of the bsyldioge cam, by jere, 
to 1000 marks." 


'Whole building appears to have been destitute of those defensive 
precautions adopted in earlier specimens of castellation, and some* 
times evident in parts of other castellated edifices erected, or 
altered, in this reign. 

The castle of Lumley, in the county oi Durham* was origi- 
nally constructed in the reign of Edward the First; but was 
altered, under a licence of fortification granted by Richurd the 
Second, and Bishop Skirlaw, in the year 13S9.t it is difficult 
to distinguish, in this instance, between the works of difTerent 
ages; but strong preparations for defence are apparent in many 
parts, intermingled with extensive and sumptuous ranges of 
domestic apartments. The buildings are situated on an elevated 
spot, and form a quadrangle, enclosing an area, and protected, 
at each angle, by octagonal machicolated turrets. The project- 
ing gateway is, likewise, commanded by turrets and a machico- 
lated gallery ; and it is ascertained, by armorial sculpture, that 
this gateway underwent alteration by Sir Ralph Lumley, in the 
reign of Richard the Second. Three stories of apartments, in the 
east front, being that on which is placed the above gateway, have 
mullioned windows, guarded with iron. 

A second instance of a baronial castle, altered according to the 
style of this reign, occurs in the castle of Raby, likewise in the 
county of Durham.i But, in this noble pile, the marks of alter- 
alion in the time of King Richard are still more obscurely inter- 
mixed with buildings of much greater antiquity, and with subse- 
quent improvements. In many parts, however, it still displays 
the modes prevailing about the year 1379, when John de Nevill, 
Earl of Westmoreland, obtained a licence " to make a castle of his 
manor of Raby, and to embattle and crenellate its towers." The 
strong, embattled, towers, eithe;- renovated, or entirely cou- 
stancted, by that earl, are numerous. But the decisive traces of 


• Beauties for Durliem, p. J89j with an engraving. 

+ Printed, by mistake, in the Beauties for Durham, 1329. 

J Beauties for Durham, p. 227. 


the era in which he floarished, are most conspicuous iu rude, bat 
grand, efforts towards an increase of internal convenience and 
splendour. The ground -plan of the outworks is, probably, of a 
mnch more ancient date. 

Thus reluctantly did the custom of living in massy fastnesses, 
which defied party-competition, and rendered an individual aU 
most superior to the reigning law of the land, pass away from 
nobles long accustomed to feudal manners, and intent on exact* 
ing, with arbitrary interest, from the middle classes and the com- 
monalty, those does of homage, and more solid advantages, which 
themselves rendered to the crown. 

It is believed that we have not any remaining specimen of ft 
building, really entitled to the name of castle, and intended for a 
noble dwelling, that was erected at a date subsequent to th» 
reign of Richard the Second. Various circumstances accele« 
rated the disuse of such structures, as places of residence for the 
noble and wealthy. — The increase of urbanity and refinement, 
attendant on the progressive substitution of commerce for chivalry, 
as the great dependance of the nation, must have created a dispo* 
sition towards the relinquishment of such dreary and isolated re> 
cesses of stone. The same bias of natioual temper, necessarily 
produced, although by slow degrees, a more settled state of pub> 
lie affairs, favourable to the indulgence of the growing taste and 
enlarged liberality of sentiment. 

But one obvious circumstance is, in itself, of sufficient weight 
to account for tlie abandonment of fortification, according to the 
ancient methods, witliout a referenca to causes more conjectunJ 
and obscure. — The whole mode of warfare experienced so entire a 
change by the introduction of gunpowder and artillery, that the 
duplicated ramparts, with their crenelles and turrets, and even the 
massy walls of the keep, althoogh proof to the cattns or the bat- 
tering ram, were no longer secure guards against the assault of a 
determined foe.* 


• A different opinion prevailed for t ibort time during the reign of Henry 



To this indnceraent may, perhaps, be added (as an o&pring of 
the substitution of commerce for chivalry) the increase of our 
iiaval strength, and consequent accession of secarity from foreign 

From such causes conjoined, no baronial seats, regularly for* 
tified, were erected in ages succeeding the time of Richard the 
Second ; and tiiose already existing were gradually abandoned, 
except ia casual times of public trouble. 

In the sanguinary struggles between the rival bouses of York 
and Lancaster, the more ancient and massy of these strong holds 
were often subjects ofcoutentiou and enterprise. They afterwards 
returned to a happy state of neglect as fortifications ; from which 
they were disastrously called in the 1 7th century. — It appears, 
that, in the year 1^6, a commission was issued, appointing 
Lieutenant>Colonel Coningsby " commissary-general of, and for, 
ail the castles and fortifications iu England and Wales." The 
express object of this measure has not, however, been ascertained. 
During the calamitous civil war (painful in every point of view!) 
which brought the generous, but misguided, career of Charles to 
a fatal conclusion, many ancient castles were garrisoned, and de- 
fended, by the respective contending parties. 

When the king's cause was lost, several 6f these strActures 
(equally venerable and curious!) were dismantled, or utterly de- 
stroyed, by order of Parliament. Since that date, the inroads 
of dilapidation have been much more than commensurate with tlM 
progress of time. A busy and increasing commercial population 
has demolished, without scruple, many fragments of such cas- 

the Eighth. By that monarch were erected in hatte, &nd, as it would al- 
most appear, in trepidatiou, several fortresses for the defence of tlie coast 
against invasion. An instance of these block-houses is noticed in the Beau- 
ties for Sussex, p. 199. The building there described (Winchekea, or Cam' 
ber Castle) itasatislactory example of the wliole of the fortresses constructed 
fcy Henry the Eiglith, with-a view of protecting the coast. They usually 
consist of a large circular tower, with outworks, sometimes comprising smalltr 
towers of the same form. 


tellated structures as were supposed to interfere with its specnla- 
tions iu local improvement. In more secluded situations, the 
havoc has sometimes been equally complete. The agriculturalist, 
and the repairer of the highways, have, in too many instances, 
profited by such remains of these august fabrics as were remote 
from busy haunts; and thus has proceeded a gradual work of de* 
struction, in which time and weather [the agents most readily 
named, and to which the devastation is usually attributed] have, 
in reality, had little share. But the hand of antiquarian taste has 
interposed in late years, and has preserved from entire demoli- 
tion numerous relics, threatened by ignorance and avarice. Such 
vestiges are likely to remain for many centuries, if they meet 
with a similar protection. It is, however, chiefly as ruins that 
we view these monuments of ancient baro4nal grandeur. Few 
castles, that were the heads of baronies in years shortly follow- 
ing the Norman Conquest, are now in a habitable state; al- 
though, pe